We all know the economy is bad. We're all feeling it in one way or another.
Just in the past week I've read several agent blogs that discuss this issue. The bottom line is that it affects everyone, even the publishers buying (or not buying) books. It's harder to sell now than it has been in previous years for this basic fact.
Yesterday, I was visiting a friend who happens to be a model. She has had trouble getting modeling jobs lately, but a professional photograoher neighbor of hers told her, "It's not you. It's the economy." This woman is beautiful, and the camera loves her. But, she is an unknown. Her industry isn't hiring as many unknown models as before the downturn in the economy.
The same thing goes for publishing. The unpublished authors are having a harder time. They are unknown, thus a bigger risk.
In this economy, your work has to be amazing. Just something to keep in mind for any writers trying to break into print--me included.