Jobs & the Economy

Unemployment rates continue to rise as we settle more deeply into our current recession. Washington’s rate has hit 6.3%, and the nation’s rate is 6.7%.

Every day’s newspaper brings new sad stories to the business section – layoffs, bankruptcies, business closures, cutbacks, stock prices plummeting. They should perhaps retitle the business section the “Horror Section”.

More disturbingly, I’m seeing friends and acquaintances impacted by this. I know at least three people who are anticipating being laid off in the next six months, and another within the year – and these are not junior, front-line employees. These are college-educated, licensed, valuable senior professionals with considerable company seniority.

My husband’s employer has been through several layoff cycles, leaving the survivors depressed and and in a state of shell-shock. My employer seems to be operating efficiently for now, although new hiring seems to be pretty minimal.

I am very sad for those who are losing their jobs or needing to make a change during these tough times because prospects for a decent new one would seem grim in this economy.

What would you do if you found out – with decent notice – that you were being laid off? Do you have a contingency plan? While we have a savings cushion and I have several weeks of unused leave, I sure haven’t thought it through beyond that.

8 Responses to “Jobs & the Economy”

  1. Tania Says:

    Hmm. I think I might be one of the people you’re referencing. I’m in an odd position.

    The project I work for will probably not be funded next year, or not funded enough to support me. HOWEVER, the work I do directly benefits the parent organization and I suspect they would find an FTE and laterally transfer me.

    In the meantime, I’m updating and creating a few different versions of my resume, making sure I’ve got “interview” clothes that I can grab and go on short notice, and I’m quietly letting local people know that I’m starting to look.

    “Quietly”, you say, when I’ve just posted it here? Well, not many local people read Smug Puppies (fools!!), and the ones that do probably know what I’m doing. Quietly as in my boss probably expects that I’ll be looking, but doesn’t know that I’ve slowly started. With things the way they are, and other recent development in my family (my mom is having surgery on two heart valves sometime in the next few weeks), I should stick this out as long as I can.

  2. Random Michelle K Says:

    We went through this a couple years ago with Michael–they decided to close his office and gave everyone about four to six weeks notice.

    We took a look out our finances, decided that we could live on my income, and shut down our spending.

    Luckily, he started his new job a week after his old job ended.

    The same thing would happen if I lost my job (Michael can’t lose his job, except for malfeasance). We stop spending on all but the necessities and we’d be okay. (Makes me glad we live below our means and paid off the car this year.)

    But I know we’re in the minority; we don’t carry credit card debt, so if we cut out extraneous spending we’d have only mortgage, utilities, and food outgoing. It’d be unpleasant, because I make more money than Michael (because he’s a state employee who can’t be said off), but we could do it.

  3. MWT Says:

    Hmmm. I have some vague inklings of ideas, but no concrete plans. As far as I know I’m not on any chopping blocks though. Here’s hoping that continues to be the case for at least another year…

  4. Nathan Says:

    Chronic bouts of unemployment are the norm for me. I fully expected, once mid-November rolled around without a job, that I’d be unemployed until January. Movies just don’t gear up this time of year because the Holidays a.) kill productivity and b.) force producers to pay people without them going to work.

    I’m thinking (hoping) that my industry is somewhat bulletproof…people still need entertainment and escape. Independent films, OTOH are going to take a huge hit. They depend on moderately wealthy individuals willing to gamble a few hundred thousand dollars on a film (usually a write-off). I think there will be less of that going on.

    Anyway, the boom/bust nature of my business makes my situation pretty much normal at the moment. If, however, the phone isn’t ringing in January, I may have to practice saying, “would you like fries with that”?

  5. Michelle K Says:

    What Nathan–you don’t want a job with Dominoes? (runs and hides)

  6. kim Says:

    No plan here….since I am already not working, the plan is for Keith to continue hiding under the radar….If i had to I could go back to the service industry, although even that is hard hit around here. Stats Canada has our city once again with the highest unemployment rate in the country..10.1% and it is only going to get worse unless the Big Three pull a magic trick outta their hats.

  7. Jeri Says:

    Tania, yep, you were one of the folks I was thinking of. And grant funding is iffy any year, probably much more so in a recession. I hope you can land somewhere that makes you happy this time around!

    Michelle, you all are the poster children for sane living. :)

    MWT, what’s the grant cycle like in marine science? Annual, or longer term?

    Nathan, the press has been reporting an uptick in movie attendance, which I find odd given that the recession should be motivating folks to save. Still, the escapism angle does make sense. I hope your phone rings on Jan 2, too, because Dominos would just frustrate you. ;)

    Kimby, I had no idea it was that much higher in Canada! I wonder if it’s actual higher unemployment or a different base formula or evaluation criteria? Still, very scary. I hope you don’t have to go back to the service industry, too, it surely didn’t challenge nor fulfill you.

  8. Random Michelle K Says:

    Jeri, I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say sane, but definitely paranoid.

    Although my spending recently has been kinda outta control. (New phone! New stereo! BluRay for Michael! Woot!)

    ahem.