36-Hour Layoff Binge Follows Obama’s Re-Election

By Joe Budzinski

Since yesterday morning there has been a cascade of layoff announcements, largely unreported. It’s a surprising number of such notices, coming from all around the U.S., in a short period of time.

As to why exactly there would be a spate of downsizings so quickly after the election, possible reasons would be:

  • Employers are distressed by the result and decided to make cuts for business reasons, for example the guy who fired 22 employees the morning after, or
  • Employers saved the news until after the election in order not to cast a further pall over President Obama’s economic record, which some speculate is what happened with Boeing.

But those two just seemed like oddball stories that made the news today. What, one might wonder, is the meaning of the rest of the list? Maybe the first rule of Jobs Armageddon is, you don’t talk about Jobs Armageddon.

TE Connectivity to close Guilford plant, lay off 620

Nextel to cut 20% of jobs at Virginia headquarters

U.S. Cellular to sell Chicago customers to Sprint, shed hundreds of local jobs

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Cuts Valley Workforce

MN Dairy Plant Closure to Result in 130 Layoffs

Vestas to cut 3,000 more jobs

Nearly 200 ‘family-sustaining’ jobs to be lost as HarperCollins plans to close warehouse

Hawker Beechcraft plans to cut about 410 jobs

Layoffs continue at Anniston weapons plant

RIM Reportedly Cuts 200 Jobs In Irving, Texas Office
(This one is technically a rumor, but the company statements reads much like a cloaked confirmation).

It is a remarkable cluster of stories since yesterday. Not sure why that expression came to mind.

A commenter in one of the discussion groups used the term “Obamasizing,” and maybe we will hear that one more often.


  • NotJohnSMosby says:

    When has Munsey last had credibility?

    I absolutely love the fact that so many Republicans truly thought they were going to win this week. Even up to Tuesday night, they thought they were going to victory parties. It’s awesome, three days later and they still can’t figure out how they lost.

    So yeah, if businesses want to close up shop because they’ll have to pay a small amount more in taxes, then let them. I seem to recall businesses flourishing in the 90s, when individual tax rates were much higher than today. They flourished way back in the real 1950s, which, in contrary to the mythical Leave it to Beaver 50s, tax rates of all kinds were much, much higher than today.

    So yes, let them all close up shop and retreat into the woods, never to be seen again. The world will be a better place if we didn’t have to put up with them anymore.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    eb, I was talking about the screwing by the central planning–someone introduced Rand into the discussion, remember? Which those doing it haven’t read, so use it as a buzzword to attack.

    elderberry, that’s a fine collection of buzzwords and assumptions–and not very representative of the best buzz there–”the reality based world”, i.e. your alternate reality. Reality is that the government gets its money from somewhere, and it isn’t from entitlements, but for them.

    NoJSM, a small amount more sounds so very reasonable. There’s some more alternate reality from a thug. I’m sure you won’t miss them, but by god the sacred monolith of the fed will when it has to keep revising its budget (gosh, will they pass one now in the Senate? can’t wait!) because of declining revenue.

    Sooner or later they’ll get around to you too–they always do even with the true believers, if it goes on long enough.

    Good night.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    The only real way to quantify this trend will be at Christmastime when the November BLS numbers are released. Based on news reports it looks like a whole lot of firing going on, compared to what I have seen before.

    But maybe there is some anomaly in the reporting. As most of you in the business community know, it is legally required in some places that layoffs of a certain scale have to be immediately reported to state agencies. Perhaps a flurry of decisions were finalized right after the election, thus a flurry of reports, but the month as a whole will show a different trend entirely?

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “eb, I was talking about the screwing by the central planning–someone introduced Rand into the discussion, remember?”

    I was talking about real life.

    The discussion about Rand is boring — almost as boring as her book, but I was a freshman in college. Do you think I should reread?

    Funny how I remember so much more Robert Penn Warren than Ayn Rand.

    “History is not melodrama, even if it usually reads like that.”

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Barbara, if you haven’t read All the King’s Men, YOU HAVE TO DO IT. I can tell, it’s a book you would love.

  • NotJohnSMosby says:

    Joe, you are aware that every month, even in a booming economy like the late 90s, that hundreds of thousands of “old” jobs are lost? One company or another is always having layoffs, or going out of business entirely. Just as one company or another is hiring and creating “new” jobs.

    You seem to be semi-fond of numbers these days, do some research and go back to the 1999 numbers, and look at the weekly new filings for unemployment. They’re pretty large, and that was when unemployment was extremely low.

    So, if you say that it seems real busy that 10s of thousands of old jobs were lost this month, I would say its usually more than that. 10s of thousands of new jobs were also created this month, and over the last few years, there have been more new jobs created than old jobs destroyed. Millions, in fact.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    It was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.

    The First approach’d the Elephant,
    And happening to fall
    Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl:
    “God bless me! but the Elephant
    Is very like a wall!”

    The Second, feeling of the tusk,
    Cried, -”Ho! what have we here
    So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me ’tis mighty clear
    This wonder of an Elephant
    Is very like a spear!”

    The Third approached the animal,
    And happening to take
    The squirming trunk within his hands,
    Thus boldly up and spake:
    “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
    Is very like a snake!”

    The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
    And felt about the knee.
    “What most this wondrous beast is like
    Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
    “‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
    Is very like a tree!”

    The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said: “E’en the blindest man
    Can tell what this resembles most;
    Deny the fact who can,
    This marvel of an Elephant
    Is very like a fan!”

    The Sixth no sooner had begun
    About the beast to grope,
    Then, seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope,
    “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
    Is very like a rope!”

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!


    So oft in theologic wars,
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
    And prate about an Elephant
    Not one of them has seen!

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    EB, All The King’s Men is one of the greatest books ever written. Atlas Shrugged is not in the same league; it is more of a morality tale novel rather than literature.

    NJM, Agreed, that’s why watching official unemployment stats in the coming months will be more enlightening than watching headlines. However, I stand by the contention that these headlines seemed significant. I won’t argue with those who say they are merely anectdotal. Point taken.

  • Scout says:

    If TC could adopt a Book Club function and encourage everyone to read All the King’s Men, it would be a good thing. It is a monumentally great book about politics and life, at least as they present themselves in America. Glad to see some reference to it here. I read it in college and re-read a new edition in 2005, while I was in the midst of a campaign in Virginia. It really grabbed me, particularly the second time around.

  • JoeBud, I think you are correct and I believe those unemployment numbers will be quite a bit elevated, though there is a limit due to the fact that companies are already running on skeleton staff. What will be different is the fact that few of them, unless they are somehow dependent upon government spending, will see any prospects for growth in the future regardless a resolution of the “financial cliff”, which doubtless will amount to nothing more than higher taxes now in exchange for future cuts that never materialize, as has always been the case in the past.

    The real indicator will be what happens in January after all the temporary Christmas season jobs evaporate, and I believe even those will be limited this year due to depressed consumer sales as a result of lower disposable income due to higher energy costs as we get into the winter heating season, which will cost the average consumer about 30% more than last year despite a reduction in family income.

    All the hidden taxes and compliance costs of Obamacare, including the new 3.8 percent increase in capital gains taxes will remain in place and as the twenty-somethings emerge from college with huge debts they will suddenly discover that over half the income from their new job (if they can get one) will be going to health insurance, debt service and taxes, making it impossible for them to save for their first home, accumulate wealth or even spend for the pleasures in life as we did when their age.

    The result of all these bad policies will be four years that are much worse than the last four and wiping out at least 20% of the small businesses that employ 80% of the workers. The idea that new entrepreneurs can fill the vacuum created by the failure and retirement of millions of seasoned entrepreneurs is laughable because, thanks to current onerous banking regulations and the poor investment climate due to the open season attack on capital gains, it will be difficult or impossible for all those new replacement ventures to obtain the necessary capital and financing to start, let alone sustain operations in a miserable economic climate. That auto parts store owner already owns his house and put his kids through college… he has the equity to be able to sustain a few years where he sacrifices his own income to retain long term loyal employees, but he cannot do that indefinitely and many of them cannot do it for another four years. So what happens is they consolidate their assets at the point where they think they can live off their equity in retirement and that’s it. The new guy who wants to buy that business or start a new one to fill the vacuum does not have that capital and, if young has all kinds of other living expenses that demand he extract more from the business than can be maintained, which is why four out of five last less than ten years anyway even in the good times. The business model that fails with ample capital no debt load before cannot somehow survive as a new venture saddled with debt and expense. That’s why one should laugh off all those diners, groceries and delicatessens that both feed from and support the local economy going out of business and being replaced by corporate chain entities that largely feed but export the profits and production elsewhere.

    So basically what you are looking at is a triple witching hour where all the forces against prosperity have been perfectly aligned… bad regulatory policy, bad spending priorities, bad tax policy and the vigorous attack on and punishment of any who mange to remain successful in such an environment. As I posted with stunning prescience in January, 2009 on my blog and reiterated several times over the past four years, there will be no economic recovery until this redistributionist radical and his henchmen in the Senate are out of power. No chance, no way, and with the departure of a large chunk of the entrepreneurial class that has resulted in our prosperity over the past century from participation due to both disgust and retirement and a younger generation raised on the idea that success is a “right” that need not be earned there will be little of the private sector wealth creation needed to sustain all those rights, such as those cell phones and free health care the half of this electorate riding in the wagon think they deserve to have at the expense of the rest of us who are pulling the wagon.

    In a nutshell…. Barring enough punishment and misery to the point that even the takers start thinking about doing something for themselves, the great American experiment is over.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    eb, as Joe notes, and as I said, it is a good story, that suffers from the inclusion of the repetitive philosophical tract and very Russian style (perhaps your melodrama?).

    The theme is a good story, and that it was written over half a century ago and in many ways come true is worth note as well.

    Central planning IS much of the real world now eb, and you argue for it often right here at the local level. I can understand if the cautions illustrated in the book are fashionable for some to denigrate, and that’s fine–have at it.

    In the real world, more of the social aspects will come true as things continue to deteriorate, and the “right people” keep passing more and more laws to “fix” what will WORK, since THEY’RE in charge.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Central planning at the local level???

    Of course! And both parties have their flavor of it. I would rather a conservative version win out over the Republican one.

    This is the problem that you don’t seem to admit to Barbara: there is your central planning and my central planning — not the false choice of no central planning or all central planning.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    T. Doom, yes, and there are 2 more factors that are likely to come into play.

    1) Dependng on what sort of tax deals are cut the next four years, a large portion of the populace could be sheltered from the tax increases, allowing the deficit and debt to continue their rise, triggering inflation – serious inflation. Americans have not experienced that.

    2) Growth in contractor-subcontractor relationships with employers in white collar – and certain blue collar – occupations. People who learn to navigate quickly this new type of environment will do better than others. Before everything goes completely to hell, of course.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    Joe, sorry it took awhile to answer but I owned and managed several businesses quite successfully for more than ten years. You may be correct that there ARE managers who would layoff workers at the drop of a hat based on the results of a national election. I predict, however, that they won’t be managers for long.

  • Linda B says:

    Well, most of us became aware based on the ads, the news coverage, past history, etc., that the election was probably going to go one of two ways. There would have been sufficient time to weigh both options.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    yes, eb, central planning at the local level: CBPO.

    And that was hardly a difference between “conservative” and republican. There was nothing conservative about it other than the linguistic root relationship with the verb conserve, which has as little to do with that fiasco as the political label “liberal” has to do with that word’s actual meaning.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    You’ll recall I did not support the CBPO on these very pages. Nor did I support the central planning you supported: Metro. Nor do I support the central planning you do with regard to certain road widening, new roads, or perhaps certain river crossings.

    Do you really not see that your central planning is just as pervasive?

  • JoeBud, they might be sheltered from the direct tax increases but they will not be protected from the consequences because eventually those increases are paid for by the consumer in the form of higher prices for everything. Corporations do not pay taxes, their customers and shareholders do in the form of higher prices and lower dividends respectively. High income individuals are generally in a position to control of their income, both in amount and manner, and more broadly are in control of how their tax burden is passed down to lower income consumers, which is why Warren Buffet pays himself less salary than his secretary and earns his money in the form of capital gains taxed at half the rate.

    He can decide when he wants to realize those capital gains, for example if the tax on such gains triples after Jan 1st he won’t be selling any assets that would realize a gain because the risk he took buying those assets would jump in effective cost. The result is that capital gets frozen in place rather than being recycled into fresh risk and opportunity with innovation and growth in the economy suffering…. meaning the people who think they are escaping the tax burden are paying with lost opportunity and future prosperity. Other countries with more sensible policies attract the capital that yields the next energy, technology or market breakthrough.

    Even the liberal wealthy cannot be relied upon to save those they purport to care about because these people to a far greater degree than conservatives try to evade paying their “fair share”. Why? Because they believe that since they “think” correctly on the issues it excuses them from the financial obligation, that those who disagree with them should be the ones penalized, which is why they are notorious cheapskates in every survey ever taken about charitable giving and why none of them have continued to voluntarily pay their beloved Clinton tax rates instead of the evil Bush tax rates over the past ten years.

    Whenever I ask them (one being a very wealthy business partner of mine) why they take all those loopholes they despise and why they have not been paying the higher tax rates they say they should be paying I always get the same answers; “Everybody does it” or “If the fat cats (meaning people equally wealthy but politically conservative) are doing it I will too.”

    What it really means is that they have absolutely no moral compass and their own selfishness and denial make them incapable of leading by example, like the evil Mitt Romney giving over a quarter of his income to charity. So the next time you hear one of these buffoons talk about how they should be paying more taxes just ask them why they haven’t been and see what amusing circumlocutions emanate from their pie-hole. Doubtless we’ll be treated right here to a post or two from such a fool in the coming days.

    As to the explosion in independent contractor relationships, especially how it will be used to get around employer health care burdens under ObamaNoCare, I suspect the masterminds will not have enough fingers to plug all the holes in that dike, though they will resort to extra-Constitutional means in order to attempt it. Remember how Slick Willy Clinton (the guy who recently kept pointing that famous crooked finger at us and telling us why it is important that our President always tell us the truth) raised income taxes retroactively months after taking office instead of giving us that middle class tax break he promised? Well, I will not be surprised if King Obama orders Commissar Sebelius to force employers to pay a health care fine (oh, that’s right, it’s a tax) for any employees who USED to work for the employer over the past year or two if they are still unemployed as all this misery kicks in. So even leaning your workforce in advance of the punishment may not enable you to escape it.

    They believe they can be as arbitrary and capricious as necessary to achieve their aims, and if you don’t like it you can take them to court. Only when they are (and they will be) faced with millions and millions of people actually losing the health care plans they liked instead of being able to keep them (like all those catastrophic HSA plans that will be fined or discontinued because they do not carry gold plated minimum Federal standards) and employers start dumping tens of millions of employees into the so-called “exchanges” where they are supposed to believe they are participating in a market based solution but where the government in fact is in control of the coverage and price for everything…. only then will you see the torches and pitchforks, and it will be very, very ugly. The collapse of a civilized society is never a pretty sight, and we are already far down the road toward incivility.

    Bottom line is all these utopian goals and policies are unrealistic, unattainable, unworkable, unmanageable, unaffordable and will keep our economy and standard of living swirling in the toilet bowl until we either go down the drain or people who know the slightest thing about economic dynamics and human nature wrest control from the radical ideologues and the ignorant who buy into their message.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    eb, yes, I recall that you were against it specifically here in Loudoun as finalized, after you were for it in spirit and practice.

    Do you recall that it was not local planning, but top-down or true central planning, unlike local roads, etc? Unless you are placing the idea of “roads” in general in the same category with control of water. Okay. That would make sense with the idea of rewilding etc, which is related to controlling water from the top down, i.e. UN to unregulated EPA to states to localities.

    There will be planning inherent in any social collection of people–it’s how they interact. But the central planning goes to the heart of what people like to dismiss about Rand, and what progs like to enforce in government–regulate from the top, and ignore the consequences at lower levels, because those very consequences call for the “need” for more groups and classes to lobby and cry for more top-down laws and planning (or exemptions, if you’re a successful lobbying class who only wants a me-and-not-thee).

    And so it grows

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    tdoom, yes, yes and yes.

    me not thee, the end justifies any means, and it will all work beautifully with the right people in charge!

    Now everybody go drink your Brawndo.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Define “the top”, Barbara.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    as I said eb–the UN is the originator for most central planning these days, on a worldwide greater good basis.

    You know, those guys called in to make sure the Republicans didn’t bully anyone at the polls, who were gobsmacked that we have no ID necessary to vote.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Eric, our experiences have obviously been with different scale companies. Unexpected pink slips because of sudden decisions are not uncommon in large corporations. Firing decisions can be made quickly. This is a fact. One of the main differences is the use of financial reports to analyze where things stand and on which to base decisions.

    But let’s see how things play out month to month.

  • BlackOut says:

    I agree Joe.

    The reality is some of us are nothing but white collar migrant workers.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Ha, how true. I’d have had better job security picking grapes at certain stages of my career. Better working conditions too.

  • NotJohnSMosby says:

    The tinfoil hats are really in style this week. You losers want some cheese with the whine?

    Yes, the US has decided to adopt socialism. Or communism. Or fascism. Or something. Not sure what, but it’s soooooooo horrrrrrible. The horror of having tax rates go up to where they were 10 years ago, for people pulling down a quarter mil a year. What a travesty!!

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    NoJsm, nothing compares to the tinfoil hats worn with blinders to turn an election in this economy to one on social issues, including that Roe v. Wade would be immediately overturned, and tampons would be banned for religious reasons.

  • NotJohn, if the higher the taxes, the greater the economic growth, employment and prosperity, why not confiscate 90% of everything over 250k, or all of it?

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Tampons banned by Romney, the election will be cancelled by Obama…

    I heard both of these things from the 16-year-old coming home from school, Barbara.

    Tin foil all around.

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