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Living in Interesting Times
Old 03-07-2009, 06:59 AM   #1
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Living in Interesting Times

Well, now. Isn't this fun:

Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of Economy

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In key industries — manufacturing, financial services and retail — layoffs have accelerated so quickly in recent months as to suggest that many companies are abandoning whole areas of business.

“These jobs aren’t coming back,” said John E. Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia in Charlotte, N.C. “A lot of production either isn’t going to happen at all, or it’s going to happen somewhere other than the United States. There are going to be fewer stores, fewer factories, fewer financial services operations. Firms are making strategic decisions that they don’t want to be in their businesses.”
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:45 AM   #2
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Yep, I read that the other day. My take-away message was that if your job did not have some kind of clear direct need or benefit to mankind then it was going away.

Some examples:

If folks are only replacing their cars every 8 years instead of every 4 years on average, that means the car industry gets cut in half.

If folks eat out only 1 day a week instead of 2 days a week, then restaurant business gets cut in half. Same for take-out.

Strip malls with their little businesses of clothes boutiques, Hallmark card places, GNC stores, are in for very rough times.

Grocery stores, gas stations, and some health care are going to do fine. I'm not sure how banks are gonna make money. Loans for commerce will not be needed since there will be little commerce. Small businesses will not need to expand, so no loans needed for that either.

It's gonna be about food, shelter, schools and education, health care, road maintenance, law enforcement, and maybe some military stuff. If you ever lived in an Eastern bloc communist country ... that's the kind of commerce that will be taking place. No frills, just the basics, ma'am.
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:35 AM   #3
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Even health care isn't safe. A friend is a nurse; local nursing staff is getting cut back. One in outright layoffs (elective surgery nurses), and two is nurses aids. The loss of the aides means the nurses have to work harder, and I imagine it ripples up to the doctors.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:26 AM   #4
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Yep, I read that the other day. My take-away message was that if your job did not have some kind of clear direct need or benefit to mankind then it was going away.

Some examples:

If folks are only replacing their cars every 8 years instead of every 4 years on average, that means the car industry gets cut in half.

If folks eat out only 1 day a week instead of 2 days a week, then restaurant business gets cut in half. Same for take-out.

Strip malls with their little businesses of clothes boutiques, Hallmark card places, GNC stores, are in for very rough times.

Grocery stores, gas stations, and some health care are going to do fine. I'm not sure how banks are gonna make money. Loans for commerce will not be needed since there will be little commerce. Small businesses will not need to expand, so no loans needed for that either.

It's gonna be about food, shelter, schools and education, health care, road maintenance, law enforcement, and maybe some military stuff. If you ever lived in an Eastern bloc communist country ... that's the kind of commerce that will be taking place. No frills, just the basics, ma'am.
I don't know... the above prognastication all sounded rather refreshing to me some how.
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:25 AM   #5
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I understand how that conclusion was arrived at and the logic has merit, but as soon as a demand for more "frills" develops, entrepreneurs are likely to develop businesses seeking to profit from the opportunity.

What I have trouble understanding is why developers are continuing to build shopping centers and business parks in today's economy. I see big projects in progress everywhere I travel.
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:37 AM   #6
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The problem with most thinking is that it is very shortsighted and influenced heavily by issues and moods of the moment.

The reality is that we don't know, it can go many ways. I believe that once this is all shaken out, the weak overleveraged will fall by the wayside, those in a strong position will emerge, and ideas currently unheard and untried will slowly emerge.

We will be a meaner leaner nation, produce less, but better quality. Perhaps we will slow down a bit, perhaps instead of importing and producing junk, quality will be the norm.

Maybe there are too many people working, perhaps there should be one bread winner, with lower prices for housing and goods, this may be possible, perhaps we expanded too fast.

If we go back to doing what we did, we will get the same result in another 10 years, but if we retool and rethink, we can actually turn out better. Interesting times can turn into interesting out of the box results
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:42 AM   #7
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The problem with most thinking is that it is very shortsighted and influenced heavily by issues and moods of the moment.

The reality is that we don't know, it can go many ways. I believe that once this is all shaken out, the weak overleveraged will fall by the wayside, those in a strong position will emerge, and ideas currently unheard and untried will slowly emerge.

We will be a meaner leaner nation, produce less, but better quality. Perhaps we will slow down a bit, perhaps instead of importing and producing junk, quality will be the norm.

Maybe there are too many people working, perhaps there should be one bread winner, with lower prices for housing and goods, this may be possible, perhaps we expanded too fast.
The thing is, it's hard not to see it ending in more people chasing fewer jobs. Not good.

As for the single-earner households, I think there's too much job insecurity out there for people to expose themselves willingly to that single point of failure. Even if the one income was sufficient, I don't know that many people would want to be in the position where their earned household income drops to zero in case of job loss.
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:53 AM   #8
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Here is an extreme of too few jobs and and excess of applicants: Stark’s hottest job: Janitor - Canton, OH - CantonRep.com
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:56 AM   #9
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Even health care isn't safe. A friend is a nurse; local nursing staff is getting cut back. One in outright layoffs (elective surgery nurses), and two is nurses aids. The loss of the aides means the nurses have to work harder, and I imagine it ripples up to the doctors.

A friend of mine said even "boob" jobs are sagging.
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:04 AM   #10
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Here is an extreme of too few jobs and and excess of applicants: Stark’s hottest job: Janitor - Canton, OH - CantonRep.com
Yeah, but first and foremost, I think, this is a full-time government job with security and benefits. I doubt we'd see that for a $9 per hour private sector custodian with less benefits and security.

And we have the usual "overqualified need not apply" comments.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 03-08-2009, 09:07 AM   #11
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The thing is, it's hard not to see it ending in more people chasing fewer jobs. Not good.
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Perhaps for the first time in our history we will become an emmigrant nation. People will be leaving for greener pasteurs, ya never know!

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Old 03-08-2009, 09:18 AM   #12
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Perhaps for the first time in our history we will become an emmigrant nation. People will be leaving for greener pasteurs, ya never know!
Jug
It has happened before, not on a grand scale, and ironically, during the "Great Depression". Lots of Ford workers left the US and went to Russia to produce Ford Autos. It did not work out well for them however. Here is a text of that era (read some f the reviews to get a gist of the text): Amazon.com: The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia: Tim Tzouliadis: Books
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:32 AM   #13
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The thing is, it's hard not to see it ending in more people chasing fewer jobs. Not good.

As for the single-earner households, I think there's too much job insecurity out there for people to expose themselves willingly to that single point of failure. Even if the one income was sufficient, I don't know that many people would want to be in the position where their earned household income drops to zero in case of job loss.
If other baby boomers can somehow manage to retire, that would open up a lot of good, even high paying jobs for younger generations. That is my hope, anyway. I plan to contribute my job to one of America's young scientists in about 8 months, recession be d***ed.

From talking to other baby boomers that I work with, I think there is a huge desire to retire although most do not see how they can do it. It would help if SS was more of a sure thing, or if the idea of LBYM and having a plan would become more in vogue.
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:53 AM   #14
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What I have trouble understanding is why developers are continuing to build shopping centers and business parks in today's economy. I see big projects in progress everywhere I travel.
I see that too. Several stores in the local mall are gone now, but Target is building a new store across the street.
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:55 AM   #15
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Several of my baby boomer friends are not retiring because of fear . They had plans but some of their plans have now been washed away . Even with SS you still need some more income from somewhere to have even a LBYM's lifestyle . So they are staying at jobs they are tired of for fear of retiring and not being able to make it financially and not being able to return to a decent paying job .
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:06 AM   #16
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Perhaps for the first time in our history we will become an emmigrant nation. People will be leaving for greener pasteurs, ya never know!

Jug
Except most of the rest of the world is in worse shape than us.
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:10 AM   #17
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What I have trouble understanding is why developers are continuing to build shopping centers and business parks in today's economy. I see big projects in progress everywhere I travel.
Because in many cases projects are too far along to stop. Contracts signed. Equipment ordered. Most of the money has already been spent. So the decision for many is, after having spent 80% on the project, do I invest the remaining 20% to get a finished product that may last for 40+ years, or save 20% and be the proud owner of a very expensive hole in the ground.
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:16 AM   #18
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As for the single-earner households, I think there's too much job insecurity out there for people to expose themselves willingly to that single point of failure. Even if the one income was sufficient, I don't know that many people would want to be in the position where their earned household income drops to zero in case of job loss.
I doubt that there are many two-income households that are living on only one income. (Of course it would be a good idea if there were and they are disproportionately represented here.) Most two-income households need both incomes to stay solvent and make payments, so in fact the second income isn't as much a safety net as it is a second point of failure. They can lose either job and find it impossible to keep up with the mortgage and other bills. See Elizabeth Warren's work for more details.
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:28 AM   #19
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It has happened before, not on a grand scale, and ironically, during the "Great Depression". Lots of Ford workers left the US and went to Russia to produce Ford Autos. It did not work out well for them however. Here is a text of that era (read some f the reviews to get a gist of the text): Amazon.com: The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia: Tim Tzouliadis: Books
Thanks for the link, I'm going to see if the library has a copy of this book. My Dad graduated from college in 1930 with a degree in metalurgy. He said he interviewed for a job based in Russia and decided he'd take it if it was offered to him. The guy who had the job decided he'd better not quit after all due to the economy. My Dad ended up taking a job at Dow Chemical, he was one of three people who got a job that year. In the class of '31, none of them got jobs after college.
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:18 AM   #20
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We are in a phase of creative destruction (see Joseph Schumpeter). Watch for innovation.

Auto repair is booming.
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