Monday, May 23, 2022

That just sucks

Kubota got laid off this morning along with his buddy "D".

He was working for a company that specializes in paving parking lots for small businesses.

Last week he was working 16 hour days (when it wasn't raining).

Today he doesn't have a job.

Walmart and Amazon are rumored to be on the verge of pink-slipping employees.

Inventory at major retailers suddenly ballooned as people just stopped buying non-essential items.

My guess is that those small business owners (or their landlords) suddenly decided that the pavement on the parking lot could easily last another year and cancelled their orders with the paving company.

Recessions

Recessions function like a brush-fire. They clear out the dead wood and return the nutrients in that wood back to the soil where living plants can access them.

Businesses that are no longer viable (or perhaps never were viable) go out of business during recessions and the people, buildings, equipment and customers are freed up and become available to better managed businesses to absorb.

Over the last few decades, government has become large enough to protect favored companies and industries so they are "sticky'. Companies, cities and favored blocks of workers might reorganize but are not forced to reorganize enough to weather future storms. That results in ever-larger chunks of the economy that is vulnerable to disruption in the next downturn while simultaneously starving the still-viable portions of the economy of resources.

Biden

Downturns are inevitable. We were overdue.

I don't blame Biden's administration for the fact that we appear to be in a recession.

Aside: The official definition of a recession is two back-to-back quarters of reduced economic activity. Since the metrics for a quarter take several weeks to calculate, the economy can turn downward near the middle of one quarter, then half a year of shitting-the-bed and then four more weeks while official numbers are calculated before economists officially call it a recession.

Nearly everybody on Main Street will know that we are in the middle of a recession long before the economists call it one.

End aside

I do blame Biden administration for numerous, bone-headed Executive Orders and policy decisions that recklessly amplified the downturn. It is one thing to have an avalanche triggered by the clapping of your hands. It is an entirely different thing to wait until the valley is full of people and then detonate a daisy-chain of dynamite embedded in the snow-pack.

I also anticipate that the Biden administration will also attempt to protect favored industries, states and special classes of people which is likely to funnel the pain to the non-protected classes.

Those of us who are cynical believe that the Biden administration may have purposely initiated the downturn in the hopes of having it be a distant memory by the next Presidential election.

Please pray for the people who are being, or will soon be monkey-hammered by this downturn. Pray that they realize that they are stilled cherished children of God and that they are not totally defined by their jobs or paychecks. Pray that their grieving over lost jobs is short. Help them recognize where they can trim expenses and help them push through the denial that might otherwise prevent them from taking those steps.

Pray that they figure out that there is always work, even when there are no jobs.

Please check out the link. It is a bit long but well worth reading and I think it may prove extremely timely.

18 comments:

  1. You can feel it happening, people are just suddenly deciding that they don't need to spend as much and when consumer spending slows? Everything goes in the toilet.

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    1. And it seems to be going into the toilet with incredible speed.

      One thing about the internet and social media is that many people do not have a filter. It used to be that people were ashamed to lose their job and avoided telling people about it.

      Now the first thing they do is post it on Facebook.

      Instant transparency. And it spooks folks.

      Also, business news is instantly available with a click of the mouse. We don't have to wait for Federal economists to tell us which way the wind is blowing.

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  2. I was literally thinking about Kubota last night and wondering how he was doing. I will add him to the prayer list.

    I wonder if people have suspected this was coming for a while now, and thus when they are seeing actual "signs" they are reacting with incredible speed. One thing that the The Plague-induced shutdown reminded people of is that it is better to make painful cuts now rather than wait in hopes that things will turn to the better.

    A wise man I once worked with said that win or lose, the Current Occupant always gets the blame. I am a little less charitable I suppose: it should have been painfully obvious to whoever took over that this was the way things were trending. The fact that nothing has been done in the 1.25 years since taking office except exacerbating the situation is embarrassing, as are the now apparent "We had no idea it would end up like this". Basic economics - something the current Administration apparently has zero experience in - should have spoken otherwise.

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  3. Sorry to hear that. Yes it sucks, but maybe this will be the impetus for him to become more engaged in planning/working for his future!

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  4. I hope your son finds work soon. Having the rug pulled out from under you is hard, but a good lesson in Life why it is good to have options. A lot of people have several part time jobs so that if layed off from one, the others help you cushion the fall a bit.

    That was a good link on findng work you posted above - Thank You for including it here.

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  5. We are hiring in Lansing and other areas - https://peckham.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/team-member We have some great entry-level positions that can grow over time.

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    1. Thanks for the tip. I will pass it on.

      I don't think he will be interested. The last I knew he was not vaccinated against Covid and the job posting I looked at indicated that Peckham require workers to be "fully vaccinated".

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    2. We serve a number of contracts, some require it, some do not, and religious exemptions are considered.

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    3. VSB. Considered and accepted in many cases. Great jobs In a really accepting and accommodating organization.

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  6. People must get it in their heads that none of what's happening is bone headed. What we see is calculated and by design. The main proof of that is we lurch from one disaster to another. But they are boneheaded onky by the metrics of The People.

    Even the unintended consequences are not beneficial to America, which is The People.

    The sooner enough people realize this, the better.

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    1. It is wholly unnatural that one after another crisis manifest itself and so deeply. It is by design.

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  7. The price of asphalt has to have increased due to oil prices. No doubt this has impacted that industry to a great extent. Praying Kubota will be able to find gainful employment quickly.

    I agree this downturn has been coming for a long time. Unfortunately it will probably last for an equally long time. Don't believe for a minute the ship will be righted prior to the next election. Watching the antics going on in Washington it's almost as if they are planing the destruction. Even fools would make a correct decision from time to time.

    Continuing to pray for your speedy recovery.

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    1. Another factor that is coming into play is the huge "infrastructure" bill actually did have some infrastructure in it. Private paving is competing with the road repair for the limited capacity of the surfacing industry. Another factor is that equipment repair is a potential bottleneck.

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  8. Employers usually don't give two weeks notice so having a fresh resume and everything up to date on the job listing sites helps with job turnaround. It's rare but sometimes employers and employees will get together and write glowing letters of recommendation for each other before parting. Perhaps Kubota and "D" can do something similar with each other. There is no shame in taking advantage unemployment, use it up for all it's worth.

    The greatest skill I see so few people use when hunting for a traditional job is negotiation. Make it clear to a potential employer that you are well employed or able to walk away from the table if your expected compensation isn't met. More often than not, the money does exist but if they genuinely can't afford a decent wage then it's best to skip that employer for more reasons than I can list here. Job hopping is the modern method of getting better pay, that and reaching out for positions that you might think you aren't qualified for. I'm not saying an electrician should apply for a full-stack developer position but higher roles often have dressed up requirements that don't necessarily apply.

    Recessions are indeed natural and we are long overdue. "Every recession solves a certain number of problems, removes pressures and benefits the survivors." - The Structures of Everyday life 15-18th century, vol 1, page 33. It used to be that a country's economy was allowed to grow and shrink with the population, but this has gone out the window with the demand for perpetual growth. It's my personal opinion that as a population shrinks the workers increase in scarcity which results in higher wages that are capable of supporting new families and the replenishment of the workforce. We have since replaced the natural ebb and flow of civilization with a policy of perpetual growth, cheap-shoring, and illegal aliens.

    People are definitely slowing down on non-essential items but it hasn't stopped completely or I wouldn't have any customers at all. I used to buy what I needed to keep my nursery slowly growing and some of my profit would go to other local businesses. Now I only buy items that are "critical need". Businesses going under or shutting down is effectively how I got the assets to improve mine.

    I checked the link and while it's good to apply organic methods of looking for work, however not having any self-worth and doing anything for a buck is part of what helps keep wages suppressed and work away from small businesses. Understand the value of your time and labor and don't let people take advantage of your situation. Working for yourself is likely the best, be it a certifications, language, art / composition, or improving your land; although every situation is different. When I have a lot of downtime in the "winter" months, an acre of cleared brush equates to ~$8,000 in added value and fences usually need work / clearing too.

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  9. Local nursery her on the left coast just laid off 60 workers today.

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  10. I read some of the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". It really helped me with the mindset of working for someone else. I really am working for myself no matter what or where. I had a spare week of vacation that I used helping a friend at his welding shop. Didn't ask for a nickel. That led to a job assembling some machinery and it paid pretty well. Other work has come in from that little time investment, too. Money is a tool just like anything else. Once you get in your head that opportunities are what you look for, it changes everything. I'm working on saying I can't afford that, to "How can I afford that?" That opens up the creativity and helps spur ideas. YMMV, but that has really helped me.

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    1. +1 for Rich Dad, Poor Dad, it's a short read and really should be mandatory reading in schools. The Richest Man in Babylon, Financial Peace - Dave Ramsey, and a few others I don't recall. I use very little of my traditional "education" and learned more from the internet than school ever taught me. Self-education is the way to go as soon as someone learns how. You hit the truth right there, money is just a tool, it's a piece of a system you can twist to your benefit.

      I circled around the idea of passive income when I first got into gaming in my childhood. Various resource producers would work for me and I wondered if I could setup a business the same way where I just collect. Parents shot that idea down for years; paraphrasing: "It doesn't work like that, you can't have a business setup in a way that you don't have to work." Well, they are mostly wrong.

      My nursery is being built with passive income in mind and freedom for me. My mother plants are tenants and produce year after year for me, regardless of my presence. If something doesn't sell then it appreciates in value the next year, usually doubling. I'll admit it's not much money right now and I still pinch pennies but it's growing, literally. (Cactus and Succulents).

      I still entertain a regular job as a temporary boost but probably not.

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