Trends in American business

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BeckyW, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    We're seeing something in the computer hardware industry out here in Colorado that is rather troubling. And we're wondering if anyone else is seeing the same in their industry in other parts of the country.

    It seems American companies are trending away from hiring employees, using instead contract/temporary labor that they do not pay "industry" wages for, do not provide any benefits to (medical/dental/retirement) nor have to consider any severence pay when they dismiss the lot on a moment's notice (like Friday at noon for Monday morning unemployed). This seems to be this industry's answer to competing in the world market. A skeleton of full-time upper management employees and a mass of temp workers whose numbers change on a quick ebb and flow. These companies DON'T WANT employees.

    The company my husband works for was bought out by another. For six weeks there has been no decision. His boss has been training my husband to take over his (the boss' job) figuring he (the boss) wouldn't get picked up by the new company.

    Today, many of my husband's co-workers came to him asking if he had been hired by the new firm because they hadn't been (and all rolls over on Monday am). Turns out that TWO out of a couple hundred workers have been hired (and no, he's not one of the two). We'll see what Monday brings.

    Thankfully we have a side business that has been out-earning one of our incomes. The industry I'm in is expanding so fast that the company is having trouble getting enough people trained fast enough so I'm relatively secure (if there's such a thing in business!) Maybe this is the boot we needed make our business a full-time venture.

    Still, we find this trend rather disturbing. A downsizing of the American worker lifestyle?

    Thoughts?? (Maybe this would make an interesting poll)
     
  2. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

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    At the company I work for (type of business is networking software) business is picking up, but rather than hiring more people in this country they are using workers in India and China. I saw on CNBC that a software developer that gets $60/hour in this country gets $6 in India.

    The jobs number reported today was 100,000 less than expected, and a lot of the economics and financial news reporters were surprised!
     

  3. John_in_Houston

    John_in_Houston Well-Known Member

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    Very typical - the place I work has a small core staff and when a big project comes in, they hire a bunch of temps and let them go when the project is over.
     
  4. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...............Welcome to the Brave New World of Corporate America that Aborts all employes except the CFO, CEO, and the secretary that they sleep with on those long overseas trips to whereever.........I'm self employeed but I have developed a very LOW opinion of and FOR American Corporate attitudes these days...........fordy...... :eek: :)
     
  5. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Its really nothing that "new" The contract manufacturer that I worked for opened its own temp service to hire hourly employees from in 1988. Only professional slots are direct hired. Also professional employees have only one year renewable annually employment contracts. This had been the policy since 1965 or 1966 from what i was told. Them choosing to breach my final contract only 5 months into it provided me a more than generous severence package.
     
  6. rkintn

    rkintn mean people suck

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    I read an article not too long ago I think in Reader's Digest about the trend of outsourcing work to India and other countries. A lot of it was for tech support, customer service etc. I got a call today from an obviously not American (thick heavy Indian accent) telling me how I qualifed for a grant from the American govt. Does anyone else see the irony here?? I think it is a disgrace that American companies are selling out the American people.
     
  7. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    The world is becoming smaller and smaller. It's getting easier and cheaper to view the world as your neighborhood. When my grandparents were part of America's work force, it made good business sense to hire local laborers. Now it's cheaper to have manufacturing jobs be done in poor countries. Or, as Becky is seeing, hire workers as temps so they don't have to pay benefits. I suppose from a purely economic point of view it makes good business sense. Except if all our jobs eventually are given out overseas, or if all the middle class jobs become lower paying jobs with no benefits, who is going to buy what these companies produce?

    We too are experiencing this shift in manufacturing. 3 years ago, the lumber mill my husband worked at for 23 years closed it's doors. Why? It was cheaper for this parent company to produce lumber in Europe. Plus the Canadian lumber companies would sit on millions of boared feet of lumber, waiting for the right moment, then flooding the market. The RR tracks go right by our house. We sat and watched carload after carload of Irving Lumber go by numerous times each day. Back then, we had the lumber contract with HD. Now Irving has it, but you can't find a decent 2x4. Our guys prided themselves on the quality of their product.

    Oh well.

    Now we're back in the same boat. After the lumber mill shut down, my husband went to work at a paper mill. They closed in January. In my town, I know of many families that are getting hit hard. One guy who worked at the first mill was nearing retirement and has a bad heart. When he lost his job, he had no insurance. His perscriptions cost $500/month! Who is going to hire a guy that age, when they have their pick of younger, healthy guys?

    Another guy's father is in his 90's. This past year his health has gotten to the point where he needs 24 hour care. This guy, since he is out of work anyhow, took his father in to take care of him. The wife, in her 50's, found "temp work", but is looking for full time work because they need the benefits, namely health insurance.

    Another guy worked at the paper mill. His health is not too good either. He needs an operation soon, so he can't find work. His wife is also looking for a job that provides health insurance, but these jobs just aren't out there.

    I've got a temp job--no benefits. We're paying our onw health insurance. But it's only so should one of us get cancer or some other catastrophic illness that we don't lose the house and all we own! In order to afford a policy, we had to take a $15,000 annual deductible. That's per person!

    We can't afford to buy anything but the basic essentials right now. We used to be the consumer market. We can't consume any more. If this trend keeps snowballing, what will this country look like? Closer to a third-world country, I'm thinking.

    "nuff said.

    Gotta go to work now.
     
  8. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    Right now they're outsourcing tech/call center jobs. But a lot more jobs are going to be affected in the future.

    Does your job mainly involve computers/phone work?? If so, you'll probably be outsourced eventually.

    Don't think it can't happen to you. I've heard of them now outsourcing doctors. A nurse meets the patient and takes any tests (blood work, etc.) necessary. The doctor *sees* the patient via video. Heck, surgery is even being done via remote control.

    I have two teenage sons - both very intelligent, high honors, etc. I'm encouraging both to go into some sort of *hands-on* work, i.e. dentistry, electrician, etc.
     
  9. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

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    What's worse is the state'shat have outsourced their welfare depts. etc. and the Federal Government sending stuff out too. The scariest to me is when your medical records are outsourced and the tax preparers that are sending your info overseas, too much info going to people that you don't know about. Think of all the banks too, our info is floating everywhere and we do not even know it.
     
  10. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    IF the United States is going to compete with third world countries, we have to get DOWN to their level. Their workers don't have health insurance, etc., and that's why it's cheaper to hire them. If a company wants to stay in business AT ALL, it must reduce expenses. Paying employees high wages and providing benefits is not cost effective when your products compete against foreign goods produced by cheap labor.

    It's all very logical.

    Mistake One is expecting loyalty from a corporation.
    Mistake Two is not understanding economics.
    Mistake Three is thinking the U.S. is immune to the world market.
    Mistake Four is not expecting change.
    Mistake Five is buying into the "American Dream" of everybody having a brick home, health insurance, and a permanent job.
    Mistake Six is being angry about all this. It won't help.
     
  11. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    Know how all the electronics jobs were going to Mexico? Well seems now that some of the "cheap" labor down there has gotten wise to the dollar and since many are unionized - yep - unions!, they have been demanding raise after raise each year. So now some corps are rethinking the move to Mexico as costs are rising, so are thinking maybe a move to SE Asia or China wouldn't be so bad.

    However, pretty soon there won't be any "cheap" labor as the 3rd world catches up with the rest of the industrialized world - however it will then be a matter of does America go down to their level or do they rise to ours?

    Seems like if you can absolutely help it, getting yourself in a position to be self employed is the way to go. Then you aren't dependent on a corp. who might just pull the job right out from under you and outsource it. Temps are cheap, and low maintenance, no benefits. I have often wondered what took corp. America so long to figure that one out? Even though it isn't good for the overall economy, as pretty soon we are going to be a nation of under-consumers...meaning we won't have the money to consume anything except the bare necessities. Then whose going to buy all those "things" that are produced?

    On the bright side - it is still easier to make a living here than in some foreign countries, of course the definition of "making a living" may be different too. We get caught up in the 2 car, dual income, high mortgage, gotta have the latest, greatest stuff..while other countries are caught up in the put food on the table, pay the light bill, and hope they can afford shoes..and are willing to put in the extra effort (i.e. work longer hours for less money and no benefits) to get their standards of living up to ours. If they see that they can't in the country that they are in - why they just come to America and take jobs that most Americans will not do - the poultry industry saw this, then the commercial laundry industry, and now textiles are warming up to the fact that Hispanic workers will show up on time, work longer hours for less pay, and I was told by one company, that when they tried to hire American workers - they had absolutely no applications from Americans- so ended up hiring all green card carrying workers...The whole plant was run by green carded Hispanics except for one supervisor who was American.

    I hear this time and again from Manufacturing companies - Americans will not apply for the hard, hot, shift work jobs - and once a company experiences Hispanic workers - they rarely will go back to using American workers. So maybe it is partly the American worker's attitudes about what type of work they will do and under what conditions that makes Corp. America look elsewhere for workers or leave the country to find labor.

    I am not saying it is all the American workers fault either, just when a corp. has a choice of hiring someone for $5.50 an hour and someone for $8.00 an hour, and the person at 5.50 has a cousin who will "stand in" for them if they get sick, and never files on their health insurance and always shows up for work...well you get the picture...

    Maybe it is time to start doing something to entice Corp. America to stay here and hire American workers...

    I hope my son becomes a plumber...that's steady, good pay, and it's self employment - however he wants to be a game programmer...go figure...wonder what flights to India cost? Guess i'll have to go over there to visit him cause that's where the job will probably be...

    Sidepasser
     
  12. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Helllloooooo.

    Isn't this a part of the reason we are here in this group.

    I'm taking aim at self-sufficiency and we're helping each other along that direction.
     
  13. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    One of the major hospitals in our area are now offering a little higher hourly salary to nurses and other support staff in exchange for any benefits. So, the hospital doesn't provide health benefits or 401K or profit sharing or vacation pay or sick pay. Also, lots of the job postings at the hospitals around here are for PRN work. Again, they don't have to pay any benefits and benefits are what most companies are trying to avoid.
     
  14. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    DH's job is all but secure as well - as the place is BOOMING... and temp workers wouldn't even know where to start. I work at home, so we don't face all these things.

    My future SIL is getting a first-hand look at this from the temp agency side....
    He has to go in (and be first in line, no less) at 5 am to see if there is a job available, and it seems to be a different job about once a week. They send them out to companies in small groups - and though the temp agency offers
    'benefits', it seems that nobody ever gets enough hours to qualify. Most of them only work about 25 to 30 hours a week, then are shipped to a different job, or told to come back 'next week'. Seems to depend on what they are making an hour as to whether they have a 3 - 4 day weekend or not. (Sound like Walmart???!!) Other pals are in the same boat.

    Between this and 'out-sourcing', kids coming out of high-school/college, and those wishing or needing to get back into the workforce are going to have a very hard time of it if they don't like McDonalds!! (And according to the government, Americans don't WANT those jobs!)

    The way I see it, is its a neat little way to play tricks with numbers that are not at all favorable to the current agenda..... Keep the people happy with a double set of books, and the politicians win. You are not nuts here.

    Remember - those who work for temp agencies are not counted in the unemployment rate because - whether they work or not - they are employed on paper. Great way to make it look like there are tons of new jobs out there, huh?!

    Sue
     
  15. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Gobug...good point

    I was reading thru the posts, thinking, isn't this board about self sufficiency and self reliance, and then saw your post. Thank you.

    If you are working for someone else, my condolences...seriously, I don't think I could ever go back and do that again. If your working for someone, a small firm, or a multinational, ask yourself this...is there someone in town, or in the neighboring state, or even India that can and will do the same job for less? If you answer yes, you might want to start using your 'daydreaming' time to map out an alternative future, because, imho, if someone can do it cheaper, it's only a matter of time before the other person gets your job. Learn new skills, for your own self fulfillment, to make you indispensable to your employer.

    Think about the future. What if you lost your job tomorrow? Do you have enough in savings to last you a while? Remember, if you do lose your high (relatively speaking) paying job, you may not step into another high paying job, unless you have an excellent skills resume, and are in a field that can't be shipped overseas. If your doing something that anybody can do, you'll probably be condemned to low paying positions. If you have jack of all trades, and 'master most of them', and one or two skills that are rare as hen teeth, you probably wont be out of work long.

    Get thyself out of debt. Get your farm. Live frugally. It's amazing to me that people will purchase life insurance and health insurance, paying many thousands of dollars a year, just in case...and won't store six months worth of food in a closet to feed their families. A bag of rice that cost 5$ will feed you for three months. If you crash and burn, or the economy crashes, the govt. may or may not be able to bail you out. IMHO, you should be responsible for yourself and your family. I go to the grocery store usually once a week, to buy milk (haven't got enough need to use all the milk a goat would provide) and luxury items. Meat and poultry comes off the farm. When luxury items, sugar, salt, spice and tea are on sale, I'll buy a couple years worth. Otherwise this place is self sustaining.

    Although this is a self reliance Homesteading board, I do enjoy reading posts about job security, outsourcing, etc. Sometimes I think about getting a 'job', but then I wonder what I'd do with the extra money...there's no land nearby that I can buy, might help having extra money for a new home (current pipe dream, although there's nothing wrong with the current home)
     
  16. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    If the answer to the problem is to be self employed who will be your customer!!!If wages as a whole go down to sustanance levels there won't be much demand for the plumbers that someone mentioned :no: We cant make a living selling services to each other,but that is what the trend seems to be in my area.Can the Wallmarts of this country survive selling to there own workers or people making even less.Maybe when it gets to the point that buisnesses have to rethink and downgrade there expectations like there workers,then things may change!!There are large groups in this country that never saw the good times to let them have extra income to prepare for the bad. As far as the people with green cards,the extra money they can scrape up goes to Mexico or some other country to benifit there econamy.So much for the brave new world of comerce.
     
  17. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Alright guys. Since I started this post I guess it's ok for me to lightly step in again here.

    Yes, we all have a very similar goal -- self sufficiency and most want that on their own little piece of earth. I think we need to be very careful that we don't preach that there's only one avenue to fund the dream. Some will make it all happen through profits from being self-employed; others from inheritance/investements; some use the corporate path; others don't make it a reality until retirement when they have pension funds to rely on or a combination of all of the above. Forgive me -- I don't see any difference in what road we take to fund the dream as long as the road leads us there.

    The common ground for all is we must be debt free and we must help one another by sharing our wisdom and experience that others might be blessed. This is what I cherish about the homesteadingtoday forums. I always benefit from the thoughts and counsel shared by members. It is why homesteadingtoday is in my "favorites."
    BW
     
  18. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Not everyone will be self employed, of course. But as of May 27, I will be.

    REALLY looking forward to it, too. :)
     
  19. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    For most of my life time ive been what can be considered self employed, however do to circumstances last year i went to work for a neat fella and enjoy what i do even if i am underpaid, i am still over appreciated and am told so a couple times a week, and when they can afford it I will be compensated for what i am doing more so than what i am currently. Kind of a turn on the current trrend of outsourcing i suppose.

    I was listening to talk radio, and i beleive it was Alex Jones www.infowars.com who was saying that the current officeholders have decided to slant the paperwork a little more to keep thier jobs by restriuctring definitions of manufacturing jobs are to include burger flippers and such..... so see we do have more manufacturing jobs being added weekly even if they are parttime...... and also the us is currently exprting more these dayz... our new export product is jobs, yes congress has decided that jobs are a commodity that can be counted in our exported goods...

    Why do people allow such buffoons to remain in a position of authority where they make a mockery out of what the founding fathers of this once great nation percieved it could one day be.....

    oh i still have my sawmill, and all my buildier tools, but working with computers and providing internet access, and doing the tech work to get essed up machines back online is kinda gratifying for now, and besides i get to work in an airconditioned office in the heat of the summer.

    William
     
  20. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I don't think the founding fathers anticipated Welfare, Social Security, illegal aliens getting Welfare and food stamps, health insurance, Medicare, Medicade, the national debt, the trade imbalance, and elected representatives who are paid more than the average worker.

    Haven't we had this thread before? :confused: