Sunday, January 06, 2008

More Workers Cut to Part-Time Hours

This WSJ journal article gave me a little scare.

Why? I recommend reading the book the hungry years. In it, during the start of the Great depression, companies wouldn't lay off people. Now don't think I'm mean... but layoffs cut the surplus in one industry and allows for cheap fast growth in another industry that isn't over-invested. What we're seeing is companies are holding onto people long past its obvious that a staff reduction would be better. This is good if the economy turns quickly. Its really bad if a large number of companies 'wake up' at the same time and go from underworking people to laying them off.

What makes me blog this from the article?

n another sign of a weakening job market, employers are cutting hours for more workers to below the 35-hour-per-week threshold for full-time work because of slowing demand, or "slack work," according to government data.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC, a unit of Hyundai Motor Co., idled 3,300 production workers for 10 Fridays over the past three months, effectively dropping their weekly hours to 32 during the affected weeks. Pella Corp., a window and door manufacturer in Iowa, has trimmed hours for several hundred of its 10,000 employees over the past few months, many to part-time hours.

The moves indicate how cautious employers have become as they grapple with the slowing economy. Reducing hours is enabling many companies hurt by slowdowns in housing and autos, in particular, to stave off layoffs and retain skilled workers, but the cuts are squeezing earnings for many workers and putting some workers' benefits at risk.


Now, I understand not wanting to lose skilled workers. But this article notes that part time work (under 35 hours per week) is an accelerating trend.

Combine this with my previous article with decreasing tourism to Mexico...

The increasing unemployment...

Yep... we're in recession.

And look at those house inventory numbers...

And somehow this market is supposed to turn around quickly? lol That won't happen. We'll continue progressing through the investment emotions. However, I think we're towards the end of 'quick stepping' through the emotions.

scary edit:
Horses being abandoned

Basically, the used horse market has become... very picky. Owners who can no longer afford their horses are abandoning them to charities. Or worse:

Some owners aren't bothering to look for new homes. Laurie Waggoner, executive director of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says the group recently rescued five horses that had been abandoned on the eastern edge of the Everglades swamps. The state of Georgia last February seized 99 starving horses from a farm and sentenced the owner, who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, to five years in prison.

The numbers suggest further evidence of economic hardship. Just one more set of indicators. Hold on. We're in for a wild ride.

Got popcorn?
Neil

5 comments:

Jiffy Pop said...

The United Van Lines Migration Report is available for 2007.

"Rounding out the high-inbound list is Washington, D.C. (58.5%), which has remained inbound since the inception of the study."

http://www.unitedvanlines.com/mover/united-newsroom/press-releases/2008/2007-united-van-lines-migration-study.htm

vat of hot oil, bring on the kernels said...

In Mid-December, Regarding the United Van Lines report, Neil said:

"Will Washington DC still be high inbound? I expect its long record to be broken.
I was surprised to see California "low outbound" last year. Will it remain that way, or go back to being 'high outbound.' Oh well... last survey was 1/8/2007. It will probably be released on the 7th or 8th of 2008. So again, patience.

Got popcorn?
Neil"

wannabuy said...

I am surprised DC did so well. It is not what I expected. Fair enough. California was almost balanced towards inbound.

The economy is still hurting; that will still drive down prices. But I do like to see counter-data points and ponder what they imply.

In this case a tough time selling homes in bubble markets. But hey, if you have overwhelming data, blog it!

I see on ziprealty DC inventory is up 22% YOY.

Got popcorn?
Neil

tj & the bear said...

You *would* have to post something about starving horses. :(

Don't know if I mentioned it, but I grew up on a little ranch/farm. Horses are like big dogs, and you know how I feel about dogs.

This is the part of the coming depression that's really killing me -- the fact that domesticated animals will get hit the worst.

wannabuy said...

TJ,

Horses are majestic and wonderful creatures and it is sad. But alas, it is an indicator of what we think is going to happen. :(