Anyone else feeling the sting of recession?

  • Thread starter tribdog
  • Start date
666
6

Main Question or Discussion Point

The engineering/surveying company I work for used to focus about 99% of their business into designing residential subdivisions. This housing crisis has completely destroyed the company. A couple of months ago we had our first lay-off. Today we closed our Mexico office, and I'm pretty sure our India office is closing as well. About 75% of the people in this office are being laid off. I'm the newest employee in the whole company and by all rights I should be the first to go but thankfully me and my partner took the initiative several months ago to spend about 50% of our time going out and finding new jobs. We are the only people who have brought in any large amounts of money, so our jobs are safe. Well, safe as possible.
 

Answers and Replies

68
0
It wouldnt be like this if people were doing what Henry Ford did...
 
666
6
What? Hire children?
 
666
6
Man, this sucks. I hate being in the office while people are getting laid off. I'll tell you one thing though I won't go quietly like everyone seems to be doing. I'll take all the clients I've brought in with me. I think I might go for a drive, these offices are just too dungeon like right now.
 
666
6
I'm so hated right now. Lots of these people have been here 5-10 times longer than I have and they aren't happy I'm safe.
 
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,832
616
I am definately worried about my job. My work is linked to the engineered wood industry (OSB, plywood, glulam beams, I-joists, etc.) We've already laid off three people and closed a lab.

Given the inventory back log (houses that are already built but not sold + warehoused inventory of building products), even if the economy snapped back today, our industry wouldn't start to recover for over a year.

Well, there's no sign that the economy will start to uptick anytime soon. Since my duties here are not in the "core" area of our business, I feel like a dead woman walking.

The really sad part is I love my job!

I've been trying to decide if I should start looking for new work, or wait until the inevitable pink slip.
 
chemisttree
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,080
61
I am definately worried about my job. My work is linked to the engineered wood industry (OSB, plywood, glulam beams, I-joists, etc.) We've already laid off three people and closed a lab.

Given the inventory back log (houses that are already built but not sold + warehoused inventory of building products), even if the economy snapped back today, our industry wouldn't start to recover for over a year.

Well, there's no sign that the economy will start to uptick anytime soon. Since my duties here are not in the "core" area of our business, I feel like a dead woman walking.

The really sad part is I love my job!

I've been trying to decide if I should start looking for new work, or wait until the inevitable pink slip.
You should always have your Plan B ready to go. Right now is when you should be looking for your next job. Watching others get laid off is bad but being the last to be laid off is really bad. Good time to http://chemistryjobs.acs.org/search/browse/" [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Kurdt
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,769
6
Being there a long time doesn't give them more right to keep their job than you. All that matters is how good a worker is at their job. The best person will be the last to go.
 
666
6
It's a good thing I specialize in building roads. We always need new roads, so I'm not as expendable as most of the others here.
 
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,832
616
Being there a long time doesn't give them more right to keep their job than you. All that matters is how good a worker is at their job. The best person will be the last to go.
Not necessarily. Like many businesses, we offers many services but the core services are our strong suit. The first place that gets cut is "extra" services. I'm a chemist, not a structural engineer; it would be impossible for me to transition into an engineering position. (It would be dumb, too -- why would I dump almost 20 years of work experience to start at the bottom rung?)
 
454
7
The company I work for has recently been aqcuired by a much larger company. They are already forcing early retirements and laying off security personnell. Rumors abound that more layoffs in management are not far behind. Some of the upper level management have been jumping ship already. Funny, since the company just procured an 8 figure contract over the next decade or so.
 
Kurdt
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,769
6
Not necessarily. Like many businesses, we offers many services but the core services are our strong suit. The first place that gets cut is "extra" services. I'm a chemist, not a structural engineer; it would be impossible for me to transition into an engineering position. (It would be dumb, too -- why would I dump almost 20 years of work experience to start at the bottom rung?)
I took that as read in this particular set of circumstances.
 
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,093
174
I am self-employed and work pretty much across the manufacturing sector - from twinkie makers to the launch control systems for the NMD. Consequently I am somewhat immune to the health of any subsector. But, no doubt, blood is running in the streets. For one of my customers [ultimately linked to auto sales], sales have dropped by about 95% over the last six months.
 
Last edited:
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,744
12
We sell to oil industry and gold/uranium mining and are seeing a 40%/year increase in business, we can't ship products fast enough.

On the other hand when oil and mining crash - they really crash!
 
2,903
13
When clinton left office we were in the positive. How did we manage to get into the hole? Was Iraq really that expensive? Or is it china and india stealing all our industry?
 
Evo
Mentor
22,880
2,376
It's been happening for a long time. In technology it's been going downhill since the infamous "dot.com" boom.

Back in the 80's interest on mortgage loans hit 16%. In Houston, TX, there were over 3,000 foreclosures a month. You couldn't give away a house.

My company sucks. They have been grossley mismanaged and the CEO was recently booted, but there is so much wrong in this company, it is unlikely to survive, unless they become a very small player. We are having massive layoffs, no raises, and no dividends paid on stock.

I brought up all of these problems several years ago when I started work here and was told to shut up. Now, everything I said that was wrong with this company is a major issue. :rolleyes: Go figure.
 
Last edited:
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,093
174
Much of this stems from the housing crisis.

Deficit spending - that would be your neocons [alleged conservatives].

As for manufacturing: Death and destruction. For example, not long ago I was proud to have played a key role in developing a fantastic new American product - molecular oriented pvc. Almost as soon as we finished, the product rights and company were sold to a company in China.

For about eight years I did engineering and consulting for Boeing. For the last three years I have been writing classes to train overseas manufacturers, for Boeing.

Airbus just got the order to build tanker planes for the USAF even though there is currently a lawsuit charging Airbus with unfair trade practices.
 
Last edited:
Argentum Vulpes
When clinton left office we were in the positive. How did we manage to get into the hole? Was Iraq really that expensive? Or is it china and india stealing all our industry?
It is *great* trade agreaments that Clinton started and Bush continued. Lets have three cheers for NAFTA, CAFTA, SHAFTA. When a country outsources almost all of its manufacturing industries/capability and imports a large majority of its consumer goods, trouble is not far behind.

Free trade is good , but it is only good when there is trade not the enormous deficits that are currently saddled with this country. As far as I know the US has no trade surplus with any country or even a balance. If I'm wrong someone please post a link showing otherwise.

So no the war is not killing this country financially, it is the loss of the ability for the US to produce anything. India and China have our industry, but look on the bright side at this rate we will be a third world nation soon and all the industry will be flocking back here to take advantage of the week dollar. I'm just praying that we don't hit the low of the Weimar Republic. I don't like the idea of having to use a wheel barrow as my wallet to goto the store.
 
854
16
As for manufacturing: Death and destruction. For example, not long ago I was proud to have played a key role in developing a fantastic new American product - molecular oriented pvc. Almost as soon as we finished, the product rights and company were sold to a company in China.
So the Chinese are no good because they won't buy from us. And our employers are no good because they sell to the Chinese. You don't miss a trick do you?
 
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,543
1,685
So the Chinese are no good because they won't buy from us. And our employers are no good because they sell to the Chinese. You don't miss a trick do you?
Um China does buy from us. They buy coal, scrap metal, and other raw materials. Then they make products and sell them to the US at a significant multiple of what they buy. That's one factor contributing to a net flow of capital/money flowing out of the US.

Here's a couple of snapshots -

hina enjoyed a 35.4-billion-US-dollar surplus in its balance of payments in 2002, up 104 percent over the previous year. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200305/23/eng20030523_117090.shtml

http://www.census.gov/indicator/www/ustrade.html [Broken] (March 11, 2008)
Goods and Services Increases in January 2008
The Nation’s international deficit in goods and services increased to $58.2 billion in January from $57.9 billion (revised) in December, as imports increased more than exports.

Basically, the US runs a trade deficit of about $700 billion/yr and then countries like China and Japan use the cash issues loans back to the US government and economy.

My company is actually doing reasonably well, and we a looking overseas for business.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
russ_watters
Mentor
19,024
5,181
When clinton left office we were in the positive.
Wrong. When Clinton left office we were the negative.
How did we manage to get into the hole? Was Iraq really that expensive? Or is it china and india stealing all our industry?
The economy is cyclical and the cycle typically lasts anywhere from 5-10 years. Our last recession (there is still some debate over if you could really call it that, but at the very least it was a slowdown) was at the end of 2000 and into 2001 and we were due for another one. It's as simple as that.

There were a number of factors that contributed to the timing, but then there are always a number of factors that contribute to the timing.
The U.S. economy shrank in three non-consecutive quarters in the early 2000s (the third quarter of 2000, the first quarter of 2001, and the third quarter of 2001). Strictly speaking, the U.S. economy was not in recession during this period -- the common definition being "a fall of a country's real gross domestic product in two or more successive quarters."

Those using less traditional definitions of the term deem part or all of this period to have been a recession and there remains some debate over the start and end dates. The initial report by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declares a recession that lasted from March 2001 to November 2001 (Someone add an application of an AD-AS model for ECO 202), as real gross domestic product dropped during this period by 0.2% total from the fourth quarter of 2000. However, even this definition is in doubt. Several members of NBER's business cycle dating committee have said that revised data indicates a recession actually began some time within the final months of 2000. Committee members suggest they are inclined to move the date.[1] NBER President Martin Feldstein said:

"It is clear that the revised data have made our original March date for the start of the recession much too late. We are still waiting for additional monthly data before making a final judgment. Until we have the additional data, we cannot make a decision."[1]
Controversy over the precise dates of the recession led to the characterization of the recession as the Clinton Recession by Republicans, if it could be traced to the final term of President Bill Clinton. A move in the recession date in a 2004 report by the Council of Economic Advisors to several months before the one given by the NBER was seen as politically motivated.[2]

Using the stock market as a benchmark, a recession began in March 2000 when the NASDAQ crashed following the collapse of the Dot-com bubble. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was relatively unscathed by the NASDAQ's crash until the September 11, 2001 attacks, after which the DJIA suffered its worst one-day point loss and biggest one-week losses in history. The market rebounded, only to crash once more in the final two quarters of 2002. In the final three quarters of 2003, the market finally rebounded permanently, agreeing with the unemployment statistics that the recession lasted from 2001 through 2003.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_2000s_recession
 
Last edited:
854
16
As for manufacturing: Death and destruction. For example, not long ago I was proud to have played a key role in developing a fantastic new American product - molecular oriented pvc. Almost as soon as we finished, the product rights and company were sold to a company in China.
Um China does buy from us. They buy coal, scrap metal, and other raw materials. Then they make products and sell them to the US at a significant multiple of what they buy.
Are you saying that Ivan's company developed a fantastic new raw material?
 
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,744
12
No it means capitalism works - the directors of Ivan's company decided that they could make more money for their shareholders by selling the company/invention/rights to the Chinese company than they could from manufacturing the product themselve.
They gave the money to the shareholders who then had the choice to invest it however they wanted.
To have done anything different would have been illegal.
 
turbo
Gold Member
3,028
45
Much of Maine's economy is tied to the timber industry, and with paper prices and lumber prices being eroded due to foreign competition (thanks again for NAFTA, Bill!) paper mills are shutting down, saw mills are shutting down, and the people who own timberland and who once worked to cut, yard, haul, and stockpile timber for the mills are looking for work, just as fuel prices and food prices are spiking. Lumberyards are desperate to sell inventory, but with the collapse of the housing market, there is precious little new construction. My niece's husband and his brothers normally build houses under contract, but unless they want to go out on a limb and build houses on spec (risky in this market) they instead have to rely on smaller remodeling/repair jobs to put food on the table. Bush may not see a recession yet, but that's because he never ventures farther north than Kennebunkport.
 
Last edited:
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,543
1,685
Are you saying that Ivan's company developed a fantastic new raw material?
Nope. With the cash the Chinese collect from the US, they simply buy up the technology at bargain prices.

There is a fair amount of technology transfer between the US and China (and it's essentially oneway to China). It save the Chinese years of R&D - and that is a real bargain.
 

Related Threads for: Anyone else feeling the sting of recession?

  • Last Post
3
Replies
55
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
4K
Replies
13
Views
3K
Replies
29
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
7
Views
2K
Top