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The economy - a random discussion - Page 2

post #21 of 123
I am seriously getting depressed by the news as well as things I am seeing first hand.

We have people coming to the office everyday putting in applications. One was the husband of someone we know professionally.

This man worked 30 years for the same family-run business and was told on Friday afternoon that he was laid off. No warning. The company paid for his entire family's health insurance prior to being laid off.

This guy begged for a job and it was heartbreaking to have to tell him no. (We don't have an openning and he also wasn't remotely qualified.)

He is looking at Cobra payments of more than $1,000 a month to keep his family's health insurance. His wife works but the cost to pick up the family at her job is about the same.

Things like this make me think about every dollar I spend, which is something I often do until recently
post #22 of 123
We are very, very lucky in that DH has excellent job security. I am so grateful.

The story that affected me the most was that of our good friends, R & M, and their situation compared to our other friends, K & C and H & J. They are still living downstate, in SE MI, an area that's been on a downhill slide for some time.

(DH and I saw how bad it was getting and fled like nervous rats on the Titanic. While I have never regretted this decision, at times I do feel a little guilty that we got out while the gettin' was good.)

R started working at the Saline Ford Plant when he was 22, when M got pregnant with their DD1. He never wanted to work there, but his dad was a millwright, and he needed a good job. R has maxed out his 401(k) and his sponsored credit union account every single week he's worked. He was always paranoid, or so I thought. He has said from the beginning that it was only a matter of time before Ford went bankrupt. I thought he was crazy. R is 31 now, and for their entire marriage, M has either been a SAHM or a part time assistant preschool teacher. Nonetheless, they own a home, have zero consumer debt, have only ever had one car payment at a time (and given what they are driving now, I doubt that they have any car payments), and have over $50,000 sacked away in a money market account. No matter what happens, R & M will land on their feet. This happened because, despite the fact that R was making $80,000 a year, they lived like he was making $30-$40K. They always lived on what he would've brought home working a straight 40 (no OT), after payroll deductions. And it worked. They'll be fine.

On the other hand, our other friends, K & C and H & J are not doing so well. Both couples have small children and one parent who SAH. Both breadwinners made as much, sometimes more, as R.

But H & J spent it as fast as he brought it home, faster really, since they have lots of CC and car debt, atop of a mortgage that's only about five years old. Now H is laid off, forever, from the steel industry, which is dying in the U.S. Right now, they are looking at filing bankruptcy and will probably lose their house.

K & C are doing somewhat better, but they are older, with more retirement savings and more equity in their home. C has worked at the phone company for 20 years- her job pays well and is pretty secure, but she has had to take cuts in her hours lately- too many people dropping landlines and getting internet from the cable company (which is also bleeding, or so I hear). K & C also have lots of debt, so they have had to cut way back on things like gasoline, dance, gymnastics, visits to and from family, etc. It hurts, because C is working as much as she can just to scrape by- payments and food, that's all her paycheck does.

Back to R & M- the preschool M has worked for for years closed it's doors after 40 years. It was the top rated preschool in the county. They didn't have enough students, and thereby tuition, to make it through the year. This made me really sad- people are cutting out things like preschool just to make ends meet.

R & M had a Christmas party this year. Eight families came. Out of the fifteen adults there, FOUR were employed. R, C, my DH, and our friend A who's a nurse. R is just waiting for his forced buyout ("Any day now") and C, at the age of 40, is desperately hoping that she has a job for another 10 years so she gets to hold on to her retirement. Even A, who has a BSN, said that lots of her nurses (she's a manager) are being laid off in favor of new grads who the hospital can pay less. My God, laying off NURSES?! Where does this end.

Of all the employed people at this party, DH makes the least and has the best job security. And I wouldn't change that at all. That fact scares me as much as anything.
post #23 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamalluv View Post
Not a local news story, but our office has an opening for a driver. (Two of our drivers got themselves fired for testing positive on drug tests). So, boss put an ad out on Monday. We got about 500-600 phone calls and 300 applicants and boss is going to pick out the 20 best to run MVRs on and call references. He can only hire ONE guy.

Some of the guys (and two gals) have got real bad sob stories. One worked for Coke for 10 years and they laid him off 8 months ago - right after his wife got pregnant with their third. Another fellow was working for the city for nearly 30 years and got laid off just a few years before full retirement. Another guy owned his own business for many years, and just closed himself down, after laying guys off one at a time over the last year.

None of these people coming in to fill out applications know they are competing with HUNDREDS of other guys. It's sad. And I am more and more amazed at our two fired guys who tested positive on their regularly scheduled annual exams.
My bold -

We average 25 to 30 guys in the field so I have seen all types come and go. Prior to working here, it never would have occured to me that someone could do something so stupid.

Now I know different. Not just failing a drug test but just general lack of self-motivation and responsiblity.

I don't know if this economy will be enough of a wake-up call or not.
post #24 of 123
DH and I are actually pretty cynical when we hear a lot of the news spots. Most of them sound way worse than they are.

When a company says that they're laying of 10,000 people, a lot of those are not real people. Many are empty positions that the company has decided not to fill, contractors that won't be hired back (and contractors are typically paid more because their positions aren't as stable, and a contractor should be prepared for lapses between contracts), or jobs that were going to be created but the expansions or projects were cancelled. So, 10,000 working humans did not lose their jobs when the news reports 10,000 layoffs.

It's also the hot news story. Anything pertaining to layoffs or the economy gets covered. It's like after a major air crash, all minor air incidents, which are not normally news, make the news because that's what people are interested in.

DH actually told me this morning that companies are also opting to release bad news now because people are braced for it and expecting it. So a company that may have been planning to do a downsize in eight months anyway will take advantage of the fact that people are expecting bad news and announce it now.

We're also not from the US originally, and don't know anyone who has been personally impacted by the economy and the layoffs. Because of this, what we know about the crisis is mostly academic, and I admit that there's a sense of "holy crap, you people did this do yourselves." I don't mean that so much on an individual level. We aren't blaming working stiffs and young families. Rather, in Canada, there are systems in place, and a culture that better protects people from swings in the economy.
post #25 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denvergirlie View Post
No not numb, but I do feel empathy for those folks going thru hard times. However, on the other hand I almost feel that this is a good thing. America was leading the charge in over consumption, living on the edge of credit use and outrageous home prices compared to all historical numbers.

We saw all this coming a few years back and thus prepared by getting rid of our debt, lowering expenses and expectations as well as learning new skills. We are far from done on this quest, but we did start.

So while I do have real empathy for those losing jobs and are now facing tough personal situations, I almost feel at times that it's the greater good for Americans, the world really, and the collective "we" has finally had a bit of a wake up call.

Personally, I think it's going to get worse, a lot worse before it gets any better. And in all honsetly what I worry more about these days is the monetary system. Our dollar has long since been anything more that pretty painted paper and the last stimulus as well as the new stimulus in the works only compounds the problems. When I see our government doing the same things that have failed time and time again in history, but expecting different results.....
I have infinite amounts of empathy for anyone who is ever going through any hardship. That being said-I think this is a *GOOD* thing for our world economy. Everything was built on a shaky foundations and heck-when you don't start with a strong foundation-sometimes it has to fall so you can rebuilt something better. I think if people can sit tight, reconnect with their communities, reassess the important things in their life and focus on what they do have the turn around on the current situation will happen quicker. Yes, jobs are failing, but that is b/c those specific businesses are failing. That means they no longer serve our society-they don't work. Trying to keep a business alive that doesn't work is just prolonging the whole chaotic nature of the situation. I think we should let the chips fly-everyone help each other out while new businesses that actually reflect the current state of society (ie green businesses and more) then there will be plenty more jobs that are healthier for the environment and for the people.

I think if you are really freaked out by this you can do something. Start volunteering at your local soup kitchen, donate your kids old clothes to agencies who can get them to mom's in need. Start a victory garden this spring to cut down food costs (and eat local/organic for cheaper!). If your down think about ways you can thrive in these times. Count your blessings. Cancel your cable and start playing games at night, cancel your cell phones and trust that you'll be in the right place at the right time. Look at your life and readjust it to get through these times. Getting depressed doesn't help anyone. We need people to get innovative, motivated and active in their local economies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
DH and I are actually pretty cynical when we hear a lot of the news spots. Most of them sound way worse than they are.


It's also the hot news story. Anything pertaining to layoffs or the economy gets covered. It's like after a major air crash, all minor air incidents, which are not normally news, make the news because that's what people are interested in.

DH actually told me this morning that companies are also opting to release bad news now because people are braced for it and expecting it. So a company that may have been planning to do a downsize in eight months anyway will take advantage of the fact that people are expecting bad news and announce it now.

We're also not from the US originally, and don't know anyone who has been personally impacted by the economy and the layoffs. Because of this, what we know about the crisis is mostly academic, and I admit that there's a sense of "holy crap, you people did this do yourselves." I don't mean that so much on an individual level. We aren't blaming working stiffs and young families. Rather, in Canada, there are systems in place, and a culture that better protects people from swings in the economy.
I really agree with you. We have stopped listening to the news regularly and instead subscribed to the magazine ODE which highlights all the positive things happening in the world. Also, we live in a community that has been focusing on local economy for the past 5 years (even have a local currency) and there is not the panic we are hearing from the rest of the world. We are trying to keep our money local and if money did loose it's value we have tons of farmers to keep us fed and I think until a new structure was built people would just have to farm more and help their neighbors out. A strong local economy can do wonders in these situations (in fact it can avoid them all together).
post #26 of 123
Unemployment has been terrible here in Michigan for a long time and it gets worse every day. We've been experiencing economic hardship here for at least 5 years. It's taken a while for the rest of the country to catch up with us.

Last night our governor gave the State of the State address. She announced that they are closing the governmental unit that I currently work part time for. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. My DH is also a state employee, for another agency. We constantly worry about layoffs, because our state has had budgetary problems year after year.

Probably the worse new story I heard recently was of a 90+ year old man freezing to death in his own house because the utility company turned off his power and gas. Mind you, our average high temp this past month has been around 15 degrees F. I am so outraged and upset by this that I don't even no where to begin!
post #27 of 123
Two of our public schools are closing at the end of the school year. I guess those kids will be dispersed into the remaining schools and they will be overfull.

So glad we homeschool, but I feel so bad for the families who cannot or do not. The public school system I'm in is substandard as it is... I can't imagine how the teachers are going to do it with so many extra students in their classes.
post #28 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamalluv View Post
Not a local news story, but our office has an opening for a driver. (Two of our drivers got themselves fired for testing positive on drug tests). So, boss put an ad out on Monday. We got about 500-600 phone calls and 300 applicants and boss is going to pick out the 20 best to run MVRs on and call references. He can only hire ONE guy.

Some of the guys (and two gals) have got real bad sob stories. One worked for Coke for 10 years and they laid him off 8 months ago - right after his wife got pregnant with their third. Another fellow was working for the city for nearly 30 years and got laid off just a few years before full retirement. Another guy owned his own business for many years, and just closed himself down, after laying guys off one at a time over the last year.

None of these people coming in to fill out applications know they are competing with HUNDREDS of other guys. It's sad. And I am more and more amazed at our two fired guys who tested positive on their regularly scheduled annual exams.
this is essentially what my husband and I are facing. We chose to move back home to OR from NC last September to be back near family. My husband's industry was hiring when we came. It has taken4 and a half months to get through the same process that took us less than 2 in NC to get to the interview stage. He's applied for so many jobs where there were a couple hundred people for 2-3 positions. We are hoping and praying he gets hired on for his "real" job before budget cuts freeze hiring totally. He's working now but it's seriously just enough to pay our bills and buy some food. We're living with my mom and she helps us SO much.

I didn't know it would be this hard or we might not have come. We came because the kids and I are Native Americans and will always have health care here. My husband NEEDS ins and currently doesn't have any.

It;s defeating and demoralizing and SO stressful. I cry all the time. But I am so thankful for my family's help.
post #29 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
DH and I are actually pretty cynical when we hear a lot of the news spots. Most of them sound way worse than they are.

When a company says that they're laying of 10,000 people, a lot of those are not real people. Many are empty positions that the company has decided not to fill, contractors that won't be hired back (and contractors are typically paid more because their positions aren't as stable, and a contractor should be prepared for lapses between contracts), or jobs that were going to be created but the expansions or projects were cancelled. So, 10,000 working humans did not lose their jobs when the news reports 10,000 layoffs.

It's also the hot news story. Anything pertaining to layoffs or the economy gets covered. It's like after a major air crash, all minor air incidents, which are not normally news, make the news because that's what people are interested in.

DH actually told me this morning that companies are also opting to release bad news now because people are braced for it and expecting it. So a company that may have been planning to do a downsize in eight months anyway will take advantage of the fact that people are expecting bad news and announce it now.

.
I have worked at large Fortune 500, household name companies my entire career. I never worked somewhere with 10,000 not-real-jobs or 10,000 contractors. The logic doesn't hold. At most the empty slots that remain empty are a handful.

As for the original question, I am numb to the numbers b/c they are too abstract for me other than whoa, being so large, which yeah that does make my eyes pop. What is killing me and the people around me is the cost of food. We can no longer afford what we want, we have to buy what we can afford.

Within my circle we have layoffs too. It is so hard when the sahm is pregnant and the husband is out of work.

V
post #30 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by UberMama View Post
Every night, I watch the news and every night I see the same stuff over and over - this company is laying off 1,000 people, that company is laying off 2,500 people, etc. etc. I feel like I'm almost becoming numb to this.

But for some reason, what I heard last night really surprised and saddened me. I'm in Oregon and due to our unemployment rate (around 9%, I believe), not as many paid into state taxes for last year. Well, some school districts will have to end their year early because they are going to run out of money before their normal end of the year dates.

No debates on public schooling, please. I was just so sad to hear this. I guess the reality of the economy hit me pretty hard once again.

While people are losing jobs left and right, are there any local stories that have hit you hard?
Wow. Maybe this was addressed already, but my first thought is how hard that's going to be on the families whose children attend that school to find childcare for all that extra time (assuming both parents are working or whatever). I mean, seems like it's just going to hit families even harder I guess if one parent is laid off at least they can provide childcare during that time? But even then trying to find work is a full time job (especially in this economy!) That's soooo sad
post #31 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post

When a company says that they're laying of 10,000 people, a lot of those are not real people. Many are empty positions that the company has decided not to fill, contractors that won't be hired back (and contractors are typically paid more because their positions aren't as stable, and a contractor should be prepared for lapses between contracts), or jobs that were going to be created but the expansions or projects were cancelled. So, 10,000 working humans did not lose their jobs when the news reports 10,000 layoffs.
When DH's employer announced layoffs last fall (35k over the next 3 years), they did also say that a good number of those would be through attrition. To add to ChetMC's list, it probably also means that people who retire would probably not be replaced.
post #32 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
When a company says that they're laying of 10,000 people, a lot of those are not real people. Many are empty positions that the company has decided not to fill, contractors that won't be hired back (and contractors are typically paid more because their positions aren't as stable, and a contractor should be prepared for lapses between contracts), or jobs that were going to be created but the expansions or projects were cancelled. So, 10,000 working humans did not lose their jobs when the news reports 10,000 layoffs.
I have quite a bit of experience with organization of large companies and layoffs, and I can state unequivocally that this statement is quite misleading. It is true that there are backfill positions that are included in the numbers but generally the percentage is relatively small. Eliminating 10,000 jobs, in my experience, generally means eliminating perhaps about 9,000 real positions, 1,000 backfill positions.

Also, regarding contractors, the percentage of contractors paid significantly more pales in comparison to the number of those hired because the company could get away with not paying benefits and paying a low wage. Therefore, even if the job cuts are to contractors, they still represent a real loss for the person cut, because most contractors are not in the higher salary category in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
We're also not from the US originally, and don't know anyone who has been personally impacted by the economy and the layoffs. Because of this, what we know about the crisis is mostly academic, and I admit that there's a sense of "holy crap, you people did this do yourselves." I don't mean that so much on an individual level. We aren't blaming working stiffs and young families. Rather, in Canada, there are systems in place, and a culture that better protects people from swings in the economy.
My DH's family is not from here, but they're seeing the same problems where they live. I also don't think that the expensive protections in place in other countries are going to last long in the face of sharply declining tax revenue. This isn't just a U.S. problem, nor is it solely originated or caused by the U.S.

Then again, I know many, many people who are seriously suffering now, so I find it hard to consider this academic.
post #33 of 123
Two people close to me have lost their very well paying jobs and are now unemployed, one has no real hope of finding a job.

DH has a friend who has been predicting a massive world wide depression ever since they met in the 1980s. And about 3 years ago DH came home from work with an ominous tale. He had been interviewing a potential employee at his business and the guy was trying to get out of the mortgage industry. He told DH that the entire real estate market was about to implode and it would become critical in three years (now).

I remember DH coming home and explaining to me that mortgages were bundled into investments and if these mortgages went bad the entire economy would collapse because we would lose foreign investors. At that point we took all our money out of the stock market and started saving like the end was near. He started running his company with the same mentality.

So here doomsday seems to be nigh and at least we have been preparing and so has DH's business. But how much preparation can you really do for doomsday?

The real estate market is just starting to collapse where I am, so the worst is yet to come here.

One of my friends who lost her job, was trying to talk to her mortgage company about a payment plan. The company said they were at risk of 200,000 defaulted mortgages. That's just one lender!!!
post #34 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet2 View Post
I have worked at large Fortune 500, household name companies my entire career. I never worked somewhere with 10,000 not-real-jobs or 10,000 contractors. The logic doesn't hold. At most the empty slots that remain empty are a handful.
I know for a fact that the 7,000 lost jobs at Microsoft are partly cancelled growth, and positions that won't be filled or renewed. Yes, some of them are real people in permanent positions. Some groups were cut completely and people lost their jobs, but not all 7,000.

DH has worked at AOL and Nortel and has seen them do the same thing with layoffs. Nortel once had several rounds of layoffs that were all cancelled growth and positions that they decided not to fill. It makes the share holders happy to see bigger layoff numbers, so the numbers are often inflated as much as possible, but people watching FOX news don't know that. The value of the AOL stock always went up after they announced layoffs.

It's still crappy when 10,000 jobs are lost, but people don't realise that doesn't necessarily mean 10,000 permanent, full time employees with benefits will suddenly find themselves out on the street looking for work. It's bad, but it sounds worse than it is. Many of massive high profile layoffs are from companies that have been growing fast, and had planned for more rapid growth, they just cancelled the growth. Now, that's still bad for the economy. When economic growth slows, or your economy starts to shrink that still bad, I'm just pointing out that the news does not tell the whole story at all.

NPR actually did mention the numbers for the real people versus the cancelled jobs in one of the pieces they ran very recently (I can't remember if it was Macy's, Boeing, Starbucks or Caterpillar), but in the original long version of the spot they did explain that all the lost jobs weren't all real jobs held by permanent employees, but I only heard them give the breakdown once. In later (shorter) versions of the story they just gave the total number and did not explain.
post #35 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
My DH's family is not from here, but they're seeing the same problems where they live. I also don't think that the expensive protections in place in other countries are going to last long in the face of sharply declining tax revenue. This isn't just a U.S. problem, nor is it solely originated or caused by the U.S.
This is definitely a global problem. There was some discussion that a lot of immigrants and migrant workers would leave the US because of the economy, but now they're saying that people aren't leaving because things are worse at home. Our house sitters were supposed to go back to Spain, but they've opted to stay until their job prospects are better there.

Still, when I come on here and read about people losing jobs it depresses me when the first thing they are concerned about is losing the health benefits they had through their employer. It really upsets me that the US doesn't have socialized healthcare. I think they are the only industrialized nation to not have it.

I was under the impression though that most of the economic downturn was the result of the American subprime mortgage situation. What factors outside the US have been significant contributers?
post #36 of 123
I do know that when the (large national) company that DH works for announces layoffs (several times lately, in the 100s or sometimes low 1000s!) they do everything they can to rehire as many of those people as they can within the company into different departments. Of course, the local papers do not report that part. I guess it's not as impressive, doomsday-wise. Anyway, those people who do actually lose their jobs wind up being the ones who really weren't doing well and weren't a good fit for the company. They get a generous severance package of three months full salary, so for those people it is probably a really good opportunity to find a job that is a better fit.

I know that not all companies are in a position to be able to do this, though.
post #37 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
I have quite a bit of experience with organization of large companies and layoffs, and I can state unequivocally that this statement is quite misleading. It is true that there are backfill positions that are included in the numbers but generally the percentage is relatively small. Eliminating 10,000 jobs, in my experience, generally means eliminating perhaps about 9,000 real positions, 1,000 backfill positions.

Also, regarding contractors, the percentage of contractors paid significantly more pales in comparison to the number of those hired because the company could get away with not paying benefits and paying a low wage. Therefore, even if the job cuts are to contractors, they still represent a real loss for the person cut, because most contractors are not in the higher salary category in the first place..
I don't doubt that it's typical for only 10% of "layoffs" to be attrition, cancelled growth, and positions that go unfilled. There are examples where it's certainly more than 10%, and there are situations where all of the positions are real people being sent out to look for new jobs too. My only point was that we've seen inflated numbers, and on occasion, grossly inflated numbers... and that the oversimplification in the media has made us cynical. The original poster asked if people were becoming numb to the issue.

The layoffs at Microsoft are being spread over a year and a half, but the media made it sound like it was all happening in one day. My understanding is that only 1400 people got pink slips in January even though the news was throwing around numbers like 5,000 and 7,000... which was the anticipated total for the next 18 months including attrition, canceled expansion, hiring freezes and contractors that won't be renewed.

The contractors I know may not be representative of what typically goes on. They do make more to cover the fact that they don't have benefits or vacation pay, and they anticipate downtime between contracts. They anticipate job insecurity. Admittedly, my sample size is small and not very diverse. Nonetheless, contractors should not expect job security. And to me, not having your contract renewed is not the same as being layed off from a permanent, full time position, and the media shouldn't report it like it is.

All job loses are bad... whether because they put people out of work or because they represent an economy with slowed growth, or an economy that's shrinking. But the media makes it sound as tragic as possible, and that has made DH and I both somewhat numb. We doubt what we hear reported because whenever we've had the inside story on event we've found what was reported to be oversimplified... more sensational than insightful.
post #38 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by bongoblue View Post
I think I know exactly what you meant - a feeling of numbness from feeling overwhelmed. You can only store so much rice. Pinching pennies won't work forever. No matter how frugal a family is, there is still a need for income. The fattest emergency fund won't last indefinitely. The situation causes me an amazing amount of anxiety, mostly because there are so many variables out of our individual control.
This above describes how I feel 100%.

And for dw and I, I can't say we have an emergency fund. We don't have any credit card or other consumer loan debt, which is good. We do have a lot of medical debt, which is very hard.

We used all our savings during a cross-country move that got *very* complicated just before real estate went bust. We had thought that we would be able to rebuild our savings, but it just gets harder and harder. Our house sold for much less than we expected, but the houses where we moved were still quite expensive in comparison to our old area, so we still bought a house for which we really ought to have had more downpayment (in retrospect). I now regret that we bought at all.

The cost of food has gone way up, and even with oil prices back down (thank goodness...we have oil heat), utilities are outrageously high. And now, my salary has been cut, dw is looking for a job out here at the same time as just about everyone, and next year the congregation I work for is facing an even more dire financial situation. I feel no security and find myself drowning at times in anxiety.

At the same time, I do notice sometimes I feel "numb." Every person in my congregation who tells me they have lost their job, or that (contractors) they have not had any work for half a year or more, I feel this deep weight in my chest...but somehow, my jaw no longer drops.

Now when people lose their jobs, I hear others saying, "at least your not alone." But not being alone doesn't put food on the table. Quite the contrary. We can't be such safety nets for each other now.

Quote:
That said, these things have historically always turned around. We're not still living in the Great Depression.
I've heard others saying that, but I hear folks saying this less and less each month that goes by with the news only getting more and more grim. This may not be the Great Depression, but we may (or may not...but we may) very well be facing an impending depression of an entirely new sort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denvergirlie View Post
America was leading the charge in over consumption, living on the edge of credit use and outrageous home prices compared to all historical numbers.
I agree that at its best, the "new economy" can help us become better people and live more balanced lives. It can help us address real issues with our economic system. But children's bellies still need food in them, elderly folks (heck, everyone) still either need heat in 13 degree F weather or a whole new way to keep warm, and so on.

It's getting ugly out there. It really is.

Quote:
Personally, I think it's going to get worse, a lot worse before it gets any better. And in all honsetly what I worry more about these days is the monetary system. Our dollar has long since been anything more that pretty painted paper and the last stimulus as well as the new stimulus in the works only compounds the problems. When I see our government doing the same things that have failed time and time again in history, but expecting different results.....
This really captures for me some of my greatest worries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
DH and I are actually pretty cynical when we hear a lot of the news spots. Most of them sound way worse than they are.
I know you said its not bad where you are standing, but here it is absolutely terrifying. When folks in your congregation are coming to you almost en mass and saying they are losing their jobs, or getting their jobs cut, or have been looking for work for six months or a year with no luck at all, it definitely is no longer "academic." Pretty hard to stay detached when one out of five folks you know have been directly impacted in some way or another...many of them in absolutely and totally devestating ways.

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When a company says that they're laying of 10,000 people, a lot of those are not real people. Many are empty positions that the company has decided not to fill, contractors that won't be hired back (and contractors are typically paid more because their positions aren't as stable, and a contractor should be prepared for lapses between contracts), or jobs that were going to be created but the expansions or projects were cancelled. So, 10,000 working humans did not lose their jobs when the news reports 10,000 layoffs.
Previous posters responded to this better than I could, but I do think you are talking only about a small percentage of "non-real" jobs. Also, remember that for every "non-real" job that isn't going to be filled, there are hundreds of applicants who have one less shot for a job in a market where the jobs are few and far between. Those are real losses on that level...absolutely...because more people end up without income for longer.

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It's also the hot news story. Anything pertaining to layoffs or the economy gets covered. It's like after a major air crash, all minor air incidents, which are not normally news, make the news because that's what people are interested in.
I don't think these are comparable. This is nothing like a major air crash or a minor air incident. This is huge and devestating, and not at all localized. There are folks all over who are experiencing a new, painful, and terrifying reality.

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DH actually told me this morning that companies are also opting to release bad news now because people are braced for it and expecting it. So a company that may have been planning to do a downsize in eight months anyway will take advantage of the fact that people are expecting bad news and announce it now.
That may be true, but there are also companies who are not laying people off, but being more aggressive about personell issues now. I've talked to a number of folks in this position here. For example, one woman was hired a number of years ago with a job description that is really for three people. She is expected to do it all. In the past, human resources understood they'd asked too much of her, and did not penalize her despite their failure to address the situation. Now, they are basically negotiating her out of existence at the company because they're coming down on her for not getting all the work done.

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Originally Posted by flowers View Post
Everything was built on a shaky foundations and heck-when you don't start with a strong foundation-sometimes it has to fall so you can rebuilt something better.
This is true, but one of my biggest concerns is that we are going to want to return to the status quo, so our elected reps (who will need to respond to this common desire) are going to keep trying the same things over and over, and will try to help us return to the status quo when that will eventually destroy us. I am disheartened about how little national dialogue there has been about this danger.

http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

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I think if people can sit tight, reconnect with their communities, reassess the important things in their life and focus on what they do have the turn around on the current situation will happen quicker. . . .I think if you are really freaked out by this you can do something. Start volunteering at your local soup kitchen, donate your kids old clothes to agencies who can get them to mom's in need. Start a victory garden this spring to cut down food costs (and eat local/organic for cheaper!). If your down think about ways you can thrive in these times. Count your blessings. Cancel your cable and start playing games at night, cancel your cell phones and trust that you'll be in the right place at the right time. Look at your life and readjust it to get through these times. Getting depressed doesn't help anyone. We need people to get innovative, motivated and active in their local economies.
I'm doing all this an more. Here's something I recently sent out to my loved ones: http://becausethatiswhatmylifeislike...suffering.html

That said, I can't say I'm not "depressed" about the situation. My family was kind of on the edge financially before, and things aren't looking good for us on a very personal level.

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Yes, jobs are failing, but that is b/c those specific businesses are failing. That means they no longer serve our society-they don't work.
Some yes and some no. Some, especially some of the smaller businesses, are simply victims of the overall economy. There is an architect in my congregation who owns his own firm. It was very successful and then one day, business dried up. That said, I basically agree with the other part of what you said:

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Trying to keep a business alive that doesn't work is just prolonging the whole chaotic nature of the situation. I think we should let the chips fly-everyone help each other out while new businesses that actually reflect the current state of society (ie green businesses and more) then there will be plenty more jobs that are healthier for the environment and for the people.
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We are trying to keep our money local and if money did loose it's value we have tons of farmers to keep us fed and I think until a new structure was built people would just have to farm more and help their neighbors out. A strong local economy can do wonders in these situations (in fact it can avoid them all together).
It is true that healthier local economies are cushoning the effects in certain areas of the country, and unhealthier local economies in other areas are leading to people being especially hard hit.

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Originally Posted by neetling View Post
this is essentially what my husband and I are facing. We chose to move back home to OR from NC last September to be back near family. My husband's industry was hiring when we came. It has taken4 and a half months to get through the same process that took us less than 2 in NC to get to the interview stage. He's applied for so many jobs where there were a couple hundred people for 2-3 positions. We are hoping and praying he gets hired on for his "real" job before budget cuts freeze hiring totally. He's working now but it's seriously just enough to pay our bills and buy some food. We're living with my mom and she helps us SO much.
I *had* a job when I moved out here, but things started to crash and burn while we were moving. So the job I moved all the way across the country for, I might lose next year. I already have had my salary cut...the very salary that I knew was the minimum I needed to make this move work (and make this move worth it). dw is also job hunting, and things are not promising. Job searches are turning up little or nothing...and she's not an exec or something. She'd do just about anything right now.

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I didn't know it would be this hard or we might not have come.
Yes! I totally relate.

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It;s defeating and demoralizing and SO stressful. I cry all the time. But I am so thankful for my family's help.
That's true for us too. One reason we were motivated to move for this job was that dw has her family out here.

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Originally Posted by Violet2 View Post
What is killing me and the people around me is the cost of food. We can no longer afford what we want, we have to buy what we can afford.
I am really having some heartache about the health and ecological sacrifice of not buying organic, but I simply can't afford it right now for most things. It sounds like such a "priviledged" problem to have, but buying organic has never been *easy* for us.

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Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
My DH's family is not from here, but they're seeing the same problems where they live. I also don't think that the expensive protections in place in other countries are going to last long in the face of sharply declining tax revenue. This isn't just a U.S. problem, nor is it solely originated or caused by the U.S.

Then again, I know many, many people who are seriously suffering now, so I find it hard to consider this academic.
This sums up a lot of my thinking as well.

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Originally Posted by meowee View Post
DH has a friend who has been predicting a massive world wide depression ever since they met in the 1980s. And about 3 years ago DH came home from work with an ominous tale. He had been interviewing a potential employee at his business and the guy was trying to get out of the mortgage industry. He told DH that the entire real estate market was about to implode and it would become critical in three years (now).

I remember DH coming home and explaining to me that mortgages were bundled into investments and if these mortgages went bad the entire economy would collapse because we would lose foreign investors. At that point we took all our money out of the stock market and started saving like the end was near. He started running his company with the same mentality.
It's funny because I too had heard predictions like this in the past, but I must not have started acting early enough (progress has been slow) or I must have picked the wrong ways to act on the predictions because I'm really not in that much better of a position.

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Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
It makes the share holders happy to see bigger layoff numbers, so the numbers are often inflated as much as possible
I am not a business person, but I imagine it has to be a balance. Because wouldn't share holders also want to see signs that the company is doing well? So on one hand, layoffs look like prudent financial moves in a bad market. But on the other hand, there is a point when confidence gets lost. Right?
post #39 of 123

Also Our Experience

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Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
I do know that when the (large national) company that DH works for announces layoffs (several times lately, in the 100s or sometimes low 1000s!) they do everything they can to rehire as many of those people as they can within the company into different departments. Of course, the local papers do not report that part. I guess it's not as impressive, doomsday-wise. Anyway, those people who do actually lose their jobs wind up being the ones who really weren't doing well and weren't a good fit for the company. They get a generous severance package of three months full salary, so for those people it is probably a really good opportunity to find a job that is a better fit.

I know that not all companies are in a position to be able to do this, though.
I was wondering about severance packages. There's been no mention of them at all in the news, but when DH got laid off at AOL the packages were wonderful and people wanted to get a lay off notice. We know people who got what amounted to a year's salary. They were talented people, all found new jobs within a couple months, and had a nice nest egg from AOL.
post #40 of 123
I've been laid off several times and have never gotten a severence package. The only people I know of who got them were in much, much higher positions than I am.
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