DALLAS — Greeting-card companies have taken a cue from the nation’s 9 percent unemployment rate.

In a 6-by-4 inch envelope, someone can send a friend who lost his or her job a pre-printed message of encouragement and sympathy.

Though not available at every corner store, layoff greeting cards are being manufactured by Hallmark and sold at its stores and online – and they’re selling well, said Frank Fernandez, owner of two Hallmark stores in north Texas.

“We’re in the (emotion) business,” Fernandez said. “You want to say something emotionally correct and give them (your friends) a card that you’ve chosen to express your own thoughts.”

One Hallmark card with a photo of a cat reads: “Is there anywhere I could hack up a hairball, like say, on a former employer’s head?” Another card says: “Losing a job is just plain painful. So I want you to remember I’m in your cheering section.”

Stanford University Professor Bob Sutton said layoff cards might be a good way to show compassion to someone who needs support during a tough time.

“Treating them as if they are invisible is often the worst thing,” said Sutton, who has written several books on management and the workplace. “It is a very small thing, but may matter to some people.”

Still, he said, not everyone would appreciate it, especially those who consider losing one’s job a private or embarrassing issue.