Mike: I hope you all had a comfortable Thanksgiving. Sorry for the late post on this shopping frenzied Black Friday for retailers. While many a store was pumping sale priced deals on everything from clothes to cars, the unemployed weren’t likely out stuffing their shopping carts full of electronics or enviable jewelry. The talking heads were describing the day’s shopping activities as stellar, but we’ll have to wait for the final numbers to make a determination. And just think, Cyber Monday, the Web retailers version of Black Monday, is still on the horizon for the web retailers. If there is a buying frenzy this holiday season, I only hope it helps out some of those who have lost their jobs. On to the job loss news of the past day:
MADISON, Wis. — Two companies, one in southern Wisconsin and another in the north, have informed the state they plan to shut down plants and lay off workers.
The Department of Workforce Development said the notifications involve the Hexion plant in Pleasant Prairie near Kenosha and the Wisconsin Box Company plant in Wausau.
Hexion said its plant closing will mean a layoff affecting about 110 people between Jan. 30 and Sept. 25.
Wisconsin Box said it plans to close the Wausau plant and lay off 64 workers starting on Jan. 24.
Mike: USPS is certainly trying to cut costs and the following shows some of those efforts:
SARASOTA – The Postal Service is considering closing the plant where mail enters and leaves Sarasota and Manatee counties.
Mike: As much as those from TX hope they will escape a major job downturn, news like the following shows that the downturn may just take a little longer than that which is affecting the rest of the nation:
Aquatic Industries Inc., which makes high-end whirlpools and bathtubs, is closing its 19-year-old Leander plant by June, letting go of 101 employees.
The steep national housing downturn has sharply reduced demand for its luxury tubs that typically end up in new custom houses or high-end remodels, said David McFarland, director of marketing for Aquatic’s parent, Lasco Bathware.
Mike: The following shows the diminishing influence of unions and that fact is going to weigh heavy on non-union shops, since many a union shop held up the wages of their non-union counterparts. More and more organizations will be riding the race to the bottom in order to at least secure continued employment:
The new agreement will afford the (Boston) Globe significant annual savings at a time when the newspaper industry is making the financially difficult transition to a digital and print business model. The provisions contained in the agreement will help the Globe increase efficiency in its print and distribution operations. The union agreed to a 5% wage reduction; the elimination of 10 holidays; a restructuring of vacation eligibility (lengthening the time for eligibility); and an increase in the number of new positions that can be filled with lower-wage hires.
Mike: Postville was a travesty to begin with and now the town is asking to be saved from the ruin which the feds descended on them. To learn a little more about the Postville tragedy, visit Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/20/iowa_town_turned_into_open_air
POSTVILLE, Iowa – The Postville City Council has declared the city a humanitarian and economic disaster area and is seeking state disaster assistance because of the closing of the Agriprocessors Inc. kosher meatpacking plant.
Mike: RVs and other recreational vehicle entertainment is not going to be high on the lists of those who don’t have a large funny money fund, which is unfortunate:
Recreational-vehicle manufacturer Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. said it’s closing eight of its 24 plants because of reduced demand for travel trailers and factory-built housing.
The company expects to cut about 760 jobs, or 13 percent of the 5,700 positions it had at the end of August, as production is consolidated at other facilities, said spokeswoman Kathy Munson.
Mike: A hard fought battle to save union jobs:
The agreement also allows the company to temporarily schedule a 32-hour, four-day workweek for 900 workers as of Dec. 7; temporarily offers some flexibility in how the company schedules maintenance work forces working on special projects; moves all work that was to be diverted to other ArcelorMittal facilities back to Burns Harbor; and keeps all future orders for the plant at the plant, Gipson said. The union also agreed to cap an incentive plan based on production at 20 percent above the base wage, when on average it could be about 53 percent, Gipson said.
BAY MINETTE — The Baldwin County school board is considering cutting 75 to 125 support-staff jobs as early as Dec. 11 to offset statewide budget shortages, according to system Superintendent Faron Hollinger.
Many said they hoped to spend less this year on Christmas gifts. And those who were looking to fork over as much money as always said they would work hard to be thrifty, with a little help from stores’ day-after-Thanksgiving price reductions.
Mike: Fewer students in the system likely means fewer employees needed:
SIGNS that the state budget cuts are reaching bone – not fat – became painfully evident last week when the CSU Trustees opted to accept 10,000 fewer students next fall in response to Sacramento cutbacks.
Temporary staffing companies in Lexington report the need for fill-in employees is dwindling as businesses of all types try to cope until at least the new year.
Mike: Not all the news is bad, but the reason why this news is good could be considered bad:
A new report announced thousands of cuts globally at ArcelorMittal — but not at its Weirton plant.
The reason? People are buying more canned goods.
Mike: Media cutbacks are not just the bastion of US companies, but are world-wide:
CTV chops 105 jobs, mostly in Toronto: CTVglobemedia Inc. on Thursday joined the parade of media companies across North America that have chopped staff amid an industry downturn.
Mike: States will be coming to the end of their financial resources, as has happened in MO, and the feds will be the bailout of last resort. Without these unemployment benefits bailouts, many will lose all they have worked so hard to earn:
Missouri’s unemployment trust fund is headed toward a deficit in 2009.
State officials anticipate that the fund, used to pay unemployment benefits, will go from its current balance of $149.7 million to a deficit of $102.5 million next year.
Action Line: Rules for extended unemployment benefits
Mike: Not only are the lines long for the Black Friday sales, but back in reality, the lines are long in less cheerful locations:
BOSTON— A surge in layoffs has led to lines as long as two hours at state unemployment centers and lengthy waits for those filing by phone.
City of Sheboygan unemployment rose from 5.4 percent in September to 5.6 percent last month, eighth-worst among the state’s 31 biggest cities. That rate compared to 4.9 percent in October 2007.
Mike: Like TX, NM will be a little behind the curve, but they will also see unemployment increases:
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – State labor officials report that New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 4.4% in October.
That’s up from the 4% rate of September and the 3.3% rate of October 2007.
Mike: I alwats get a “we are doomed” feeling as I hear that the “experts” are baffled by the current state of the economy. The rose-colored glasses crowd is not seeing reality and seem almost to dismiss reality instead of facing it and dealing with the consequences:
Employment and labor analysts say there are some baffling aspects to this week’s report of large unemployment increases in San Diego, and throughout California. KPBS reporter Alan Ray has details.
PARK RAPIDS – A year ago this month, the unemployment rate in Hubbard County was 4.8 percent.
This year, it’s up to 7.2 percent, with a significant increase in the number of unemployment insurance claims and jobs lost in the manufacturing, retail and construction industries, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reports.
Mike: And the unemployment numbers are only going to increase. If many states have exhausted their benefit funds already, the feds are going to be very busy writing checks to bailout these shortages:
INDIANAPOLIS — The state of Indiana is receiving a line of credit for up to $330 million from the federal Department of Labor to help it temporarily shore up the fund for unemployment benefits for jobless Hoosiers through the end of January. The state’s unemployment trust fund is down to $21 million, despite an estimated monthly need for $66 million to provide benefits to about 80,000 out-of-work Hoosiers, officials said.
Mike: Increasing unemployment is a world-wide phenomena that is only beginning:
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Unemployment in the 15 nations that share the euro shot up to 7.7 percent in October — the highest level in two years — as growth dropped sharply, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said Friday.
Mike: Here are some videos that tells it like it is (at least as far as MSM is given the chance to explain):
Mike: As China goes, so goes the US – at least for now:
Mike: Goodnight to all and Ihope the weekend update has some better news to offer: