Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston





Saturday, December 5, 2009


In recent weeks (months,eons) there has been a lot of criticism of the Obama administration on job creation and job retention. As usual, many Americans are so addicted to instant gratification that they are quick to find fault and point fingers.

But the AP just released an article citing some surprising trends. The complete article can be viewed HERE. And while it is true that we are a long way from economic recovery, this certainly is cause for renewed hope in future economic stability.

“As record numbers of orders flow through Legacy Furniture Group's manufacturing plant, workers toil between towers of piled foam and incomplete end tables precariously stacked five pieces high. With a 10 percent sales growth this year, Legacy has quickly forgotten the recession's low point in March, when weak order volumes forced the company to implement four-day work weeks.”

“Legacy's recent success highlights a trend: Counties with the heaviest reliance on manufacturing income are posting some of the biggest employment gains of the nation's early economic recovery. This is a big change from just half a year ago, when some economists worried that widespread layoffs by U.S. manufacturers might be part of an irreversible trend in that sector.”

“Elkhart County, Ind., meanwhile, saw such a startling surge in layoffs one year ago that President Barack Obama made a stop there in the opening weeks of his presidency. The unemployment rate there, driven by job cuts at RV manufacturers, spiked in March at 18.9 percent, but has fallen steadily ever since — to 15 percent in September.”

"Manufacturing jobs are here to stay, and they're coming back," said Derald Bontrager, president and chief operating officer of Middlebury, Ind.-based RV maker Jayco Inc., which recalled or hired 200 laid-off workers over the summer to help ramp up production after an unexpected sales boom overwhelmed all-time-low inventories and left the producer unable to meet demand. They're still trying to catch up.”

Even though there has been a steady exodus of jobs out of the country which predates the recent economic collapse by manufacturers looking for cheap labor and little oversight, there are new employers opening facilities and hiring workers.

While this will be unhappy news for the “I want Obama to fail” advocates, this will be a shining light at the end of a long tunnel for many beleaguered families out of work and in need of some good news.

(Cross posted from the Swash Zone)


(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Rocky, I wish I could share your optimism but the trend of the past 25 years is that more and more of our wage earner population is at risk of downsizing and outsourcing.

Twenty years ago, it was primarily blue workers who were downsized as our manufacturing base dwindled. The next vulnerable group were white collar workers. About ten years ago, tech and call center jobs started migrating to India.

These days, MD, PhD, and statistician positions in the pharmaceutical business are moving to Asia - India, China, Singapore. Big pharma can hire MDs and PhDs in India for less than 15% of the cost of hiring American equivalents. When high-value, high education positions start disappearing, where is the incentive to earn an advanced degree when American businesses no longer support you.

Worse still, when the only high-value jobs left are in the military-industrial complex, what does this say about the future course and direction of the nation? Very scary, in my view.

Jim said...

College is so overrated! Thought provoking article here.

I got my liberal arts degree at age 49, just because I wanted it. Keep in mind that the richest people in America had no formal education to speak of; John Jacob Astor, Andrew Carnegie as examples. In today's world you can count Bill Gates and Michael Dell as owners without a college degree.

For me, the most impressive group of success people without the push of a formal education were the Founding Fathers.

Where is your drive?

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Jim: “College is so overrated! (…) Where is your drive?

Really! Have you ever seen a medical doctor for inoculations, treatment of disease, or to repair an injury? If a doctor pokes around inside your body, do you consider 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and a 2-year residency to be overrated or lacking in drive? Would you want your dentist extracting your teeth with a degree from the Barbershop School of Dentistry and without anesthesia? Have you ever hired a lawyer to render a legal opinion or argue a case? Would you consider 4 years of college, 3 years of law school, and passing a bar exam to be overrated and lacking in drive? Would you have your children educated by babysitters instead of trained and accredited teachers? Would you prefer to take antibiotics or medication developed by witchdoctors or by knowledgeable research scientists?

Do you consider the achievements of Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, Marie Curie, or Jonas Salk to be any less worthy than those of a dropout such as Michael Dell? Do you measure success only by money or by other contributions to humankind?

Next time, think before you say something condescending, offensive, and stupid!

Jim said...

Did you even bother to read the article? By what you wrote, apparently not. Ignorance is surely bliss in your case.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Jim: "Did you even bother to read the article? By what you wrote, apparently not. Ignorance is surely bliss in your case."

I did read the article and am well aware of the high cost of attending an expensive school (Princeton) since I am an alumnus as well. Although I do not necessarily agree with the article (I happened to value "learning for learning's sake" and regard it as a necessary prerequisite to becoming a civilized person and an educated voter), it was not the article that offended me but your phrasing:

Jim: "Where is your drive?"

Inasmuch as you know nothing about me, this was presumptuous, arrogant, offensive, and deserving of my reaction.

Arthurstone said...

Oddly enough some people attend college and or university for reasons other than to earn huge sums of money.

Go figure.

Some want to do good (though regrettably low paying work) many want to learn.

Go figure.

And I don't know about anyone else but I'm about ready to scream if I hear 'Founding Fathers' one more time used so completely out of context.

One reason so many didn't participate in 'higher education' is there were so few universities.

Go figure. But the wealthy (elitist in GOP speak) were beneficiaries of tutors and such and many were versed in Latin, Greek, geometry, the law, economics, etc. etc.

The Founding Fathers were not Joe the Plumber.

Jim said...

From Octopus:
Inasmuch as you know nothing about me, this was presumptuous, arrogant, offensive, and deserving of my reaction.
Ditto here. You made the assumption that I was directing my comments directly at you. I have no control over your assumptions. I was not attacking a college education! I have one. I agree with the article in that not EVERYONE needs a college education to do well in life.

The surgeon, with all his education, can't build his own surgical room. The dentist, with all his education, can't build the water lines and drain system for his tools. Bill Gates, with all his money, can't install the electrical systems to power his computers, much less the toaster in his kitchen! It takes tradesmen to do that.

Not all Founding Fathers had tutors, but they all had drive and ambition.

And that's my point. What drive do you possess to get what you want out of life? If it takes a college education to do it, then by all means, do it.

As to whom has done more for humanity I would say that Bill Gates has done more than all the heart operations by Dr. Michael DeBakey. IMHO of course.

Arthurstone said...

I'm so happy to have made the acquaintance of "jim".

He's got 'drive and ambition'.

Quick question Jim.

Your degree in any particular branch of history?

I don't disagree that everyone needs a college education. I haven't one.

But I do take offense at the notion the nation is suffering 10%+ unemployment and a substantially higher of underemployed because they lack 'drive and ambition'.

Clearly a college education is lost on some.