After reading this article, and looking at what Oil prices are doing lately, I have to wonder if the US (and likely Canada's too) economy is about to run into a brick wall.
Consider - 11,000 people applying for 400 jobs at a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is a symbol of a few things these days - under-paying jobs, and pure consumerism. Most of what they sell is cheap, short lived and imported from far away countries. (Made in USA or Made in Canada are probably the most rarely seen words in Wal-Mart stores)
Considering that Oakland was once part of the so-called "Silicon Valley", it's a sad statement when 11,000 people are applying for what amounts to a McJob.
It's not encouraging to see, and with the cost of a gallon of gas approaching $3.00-$4.00 US, I expect to see an increase in petty crime (e.g. B&E and other forms of theft) as it becomes difficult for people to have enough money to feed their cars in order to get to work.
Somehow, I don't think the US economy can handle the level of consumer debt that is growing down there, and high fuel costs for any extended period of time. When the number of jobs oriented towards consumption is increasing, and the number of production jobs is steadily declining (and has been for 20 years or so), that's a sign of an economic model not only in decline, but possibly on the verge of collapse.