Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Layoffs are really bad for business!


The February 15 issue of Newsweek has a great story by Jeffrey Pfeffer, “Lay off the Layoffs: Our overreliance on downsizing is killing workers, the economy – and even the bottom line”, p. 32. The original online article appeared Feb. 5 with link here. Pfeffer os quite correct in noting that often layoffs don’t improve the bottom line, and uses Circuit City, which lost the battle to even exist to Best Buy (a company that I remember well from my days in Minnesota, meeting a lot of their programmers in an XML class at Hennepin County Technical College in 2002). We’ve had periods when even in good times companies would make selective layoffs to improve the short term bottom line and stock price, and this whole “greed is good” strategy is unraveling. (Oh, by the way, if you noticed, “Wall Street” is getting remade this year with Michael Douglas and now Shia LaBeouf.

The Atlantic, in the March 2010 issue, runs an article by Don Peck (deputy managing editor), p. 42, “How a Jobless Era will Transform America”. Peck talks about “funemployment” among young adults, and about opposing trends of stress on families and more interdependence among kin, something social conservatives want. The link is here.

Look also at this graph by Derek Thompson about the length of the average bout of unemployment, at the Atlantic online, here.

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