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Rising unemployment
Solution: Be cost-conscious at work

A company's first layoffs are usually aimed at jobs that cost money (like public relations) rather than jobs that bring in money (like sales). If you're in the first category, start thinking like someone in the second: Brainstorm ways to create new revenue streams and send them up the ladder.

Suggest cost-cutting moves like switching to a less expensive vendor or bringing something in-house that you currently pay consultants to do, suggests Dale Winston, CEO of recruiter Battalia Winston. Your boss will begin to associate you with saving money - an excellent thing right around now.

Highly compensated people are often at most risk: It's easier to cut a few big earners than dozens of worker bees. If you're well paid for your level, at raise time consider asking to take your annual increase as a lump-sum bonus, suggests Paul Rowson, general manager at WorldatWork, an association of HR professionals. A bonus makes the bottom line look better and won't raise the company's outlay for benefits tied to your base salary. --Donna Rosato

NEXT: Growing inflation
Last updated July 17 2008: 1:39 PM ET
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