Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Would the last person to leave Seattle please turn out the lights?

Last week Microsoft announced their first lay-offs ever -- 5,000 of them.


And today Seattle got a double whammy.  Boeing announced a lay-off of 10,000 workers...

Boeing Logo_

...and Starbucks announced that they'd be laying off 6,700 workers.


It seems like everyone in Seattle knows someone who's lost a job in the past few weeks.  People are scared because one person laid off from these major Seattle companies impact quite a few other jobs in the region -- from construction to restaurants to contracting agencies and beyond. 

How is your job?  Are you feeling this (relatively) sudden regional pinch?

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jennifer said...

I think I'm mostly feeling a cloud of dread hanging overhead. Even though it hasn't happened to us yet, we worry about it and are cutting back on everything. The biggest panic we would have if we got caught in a layoff would be: the price of health insurance if we had to get a private policy rather than the group at work. Hopefully we'd get on with another company before the COBRA ran out.

But locally, there certainly are a lot of closed storefronts that used to be galleries and bookstores. A lot of restaurants seem to be empty if we decide to go out (which we don't too often right now). But meanwhile there are new condos and office buildings under construction all over the place. Are people really going to buy those? I see them going up and just think "no wonder the housing industry is such a mess, we're glutting the market with too much supply."

Sorry for the long comment. These are worrisome times.

G in Berlin said...

To be fair, MSFT will be hiring 3500 over the same period that they will be laying off 5000.

The rest is just depressing, but we all know that Starbucks is far overbuilt. Who pays $5 for a 20 cent cup of coffee? Especially in this economy. I use Jamaica Blue beans and get a better cup for about 6 cents per cup.
I bought a very expensive machine and amortized over only 1 year my latte is still only $1.10, or .57 for my second, and so on if I count my husband!
As for housing, Jennifer- that is scarey. In the US, I see construction at a standstill, except where previously contracted.In NYC, hotels that are scheduled have been brought to a stop. No one sees an upside until 2010.
That's why I'm glad to be in Europe, where if we lose a job we still have insurance and a decent life. I'm hoping at least some of that will come to the US over the next 4-8 years. I think the new child health care insurance plan just passed?


Anonymous said...

(Great minds think alike...)

There certainly is a sense of worry and dread, although the industry I work in is holding its breath because the infrastructure stimulus package could be a big benefit, if not save our fannies. That said, I'm afraid not enough funds have been designated for infrastructure upgrades or replacement. The repubs are so hell-bent on corporate tax cuts, and we ALL know how well THAT trickles down....

loren2h said...

My contract ends in June, I've never had trouble picking up work before but I suspect I will be taking some extended time off. I hope to be able to use my time wisely, get outside more often and reconnect with people I don't get to see nearly often enough (really enjoyed your recent post on that subject too).

Goofball said...

how depressing

Anonymous said...

For G in Berlin.......we did the same arithmetic at our house [and I also work from home] with an upmarket, but not the tops, fancy coffee machine, and came to the same conclusion; after about 8 months we would be well in it is easy to have a coffee at midnight or later if you wish! Starbucks is over the top. But pity the franchisee who probably paid top $$ for the franchise.

And yes..for Americans your health costs are over the top. I read recently that some insurers are now outsourcing that too - to upmarket hospitals in Asia, where costs are much lower, and quality of work excellent. It is good to have some social support for health costs in many other countries - europe, NZ, Australia, and so on. Bring it on!

Kellan said...

It's so awful and it affects so many families - I hope it ends soon and things start turning around!

Take care - Kellan

Margaret said...

It's really scary! Several of our friends have been affected. I have 29 years in my district, so I'm probably safe-but my husband is in construction. *ouch* And I know many people who work for Boeing and Starbucks!

Unknown said...

I have never known so many people out of work, not able to sell their homes, etc. My husband's co. just downgraded our health insurance, rescinded all cost of living increases, laid off 14 people, and on and on. It's definitely an unstable atmosphere. But we've been through lay offs before, and we'll do it again if we have to. We're Americans! :-)

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