Pink Slip Capitals
This is somewhat belated – the news first came out in May – but my sister Kath just noticed it and pointed it my way. So, better late than never, I give you Forbes Pink Slip Capitals as of May 2011, when a BLS report came out detailing the mass layoffs (50 employees or more) for the first quarter.
The good news – unless, of course, you were one of 190,389 folks who were part of a major cutback – is that mass layoffs are down 26 percent when compared to 1Q2010.
The other good news is that most of the mass layoffs on the list weren’t MASS LAYOFFS. Most were on the lower end of things – 100 jobs or so. Only two layoffs called out impacted more than 1,000 folks (a Boeing layoff of 1,100 and an Abbott Labs reduction 0f 1,900). MySpace and Activision (Guitar Hero) each laid off 500. So much for the sanctity of social media and gaming, although, in truth, I’m kind of surprised that MySpace hasn’t already been FB’d out of existence. Actually, it almost has: New Corp. (Hah!) bought the company in 2005 for $581M (Hah!), and just offloaded it for $35M.(Hah!).
While it is both fun and easy to gloat at the prospect of Rupert Murdoch taking a bath here, it’s certainly no fun if you’re one of the folks who had a MySpace job that no longer exists. One can, however, plausibly assume that most of those let go at MySpace were on the youngish side, and that their c.v.’s are steeped in social media-ness. So, while I do have sympathy for them – much as you might want to put a smiley face on it, much as you might want to extricate yourself from a suckish work situation, much as you might relish the idea of a few months off, my estimate is that 99.99% of those pink slipped have at least some twinge of nervousness, hurt, concern, regret, etc. – I do feel worse for the assembly line guys from Boeing. Well-paid manufacturing jobs do not materialize overnight, at least not in the US of A.
There is a fine little spin on the manufacturing job loss number, however:
The 34,077 manufacturing jobs lost through layoffs [during Q1 2011] was the lowest quarterly total since at least 1995 when BLS started compiling these figures.
This may be one of those blood from stone statistics: fewer jobs lost in absolute terms, but a higher percentage, since there were probably fewer manufacturing jobs factored in the base.
As for what constitutes a “mass layoff”, any lay off can be considered mass if one of the pink slips has your name on it…
So what cities are on the Top 10 list when it comes to Pink Slips?
- Los Angeles
- New York
- San Francisco
- Riverside, CA
- San Diego
I have bolded six of the cities on the list that, just the other day, made it on to my list of “25 Cities in the U.S. I Can Conceive of Living In.”
It’s tempting to say that I apparently pick my cities the same way in which I picked the companies I worked for over the years: interesting, entertaining, and (often) lovable losers. But I stick by my original 25, more or less. And, after all, large cities like NY and Chicago can absorb large layoff numbers than smaller places.
By the way, at the suggestion of my cousin Ellen – who’s been there – Springfield, Illinois, probably shouldn’t have made my list. According to Ellen, Springfield is only for those desperately intrigued by Abraham Lincoln and/or Illinois state politics. While I am intrigued to some extent by both – hey, my mother grew up in Chicago, and she lived just around the corner from Rod Blagojevich’s house, and what red-blooded American (at least those of us who are no longer fighting the Civil War) doesn’t have great admiration for Mr. Lincoln? – the level of intrigue is perhaps not high enough to keep Springfield on my list, however far down.
So I need one more.
Okay. Let’s stay midwest nice: Madison, Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, I apologize to all of my Chicago-land relatives for my gratuitous snipe at the Midwest accent. After all, the Boston accent is not exactly like listening to Sir John Gielgud intone Shakespeare, as I am reminded daily as the locals (South Boston edition) weigh in on what should and will become of Whitey Bulger. (Whitey is no longer considered wickid pissah.)
As for the Top Ten Pink Slip Cities, it must be noted that these are not necessarily the cities with the highest unemployment rates.
According to a “this just in” from the BLS, that honor goes to Yuma, Arizona and El Centro, California, which:
…recorded the highest unemployment rates in May 2011, 27.9 and 27.7 percent, respectively.
Riverside, California, with an unemployment rate of 13.2% a of May has the highest UR of metros over 1 million people, however. So it’s on both the Top 10 Pink Slip AND the Top Unemployment Rate lists. Not where any self-respecting metro wants to be.
If, on the other hand, you want to go some place with a good old fashioned unemployment rate, the kind we used to call structural unemployment:
Bismarck, N.D., registered the lowest unemployment rate, 2.9 percent. The areas with the next lowest rates were Fargo, N.D.-Minn., and Lincoln, Neb., 3.5 and 3.7 percent, respectively.
And while it is all fine and dandy that things look pretty darned good in Bismarck and Fargo,we all know that we’re NOT out of the woods, NOT out of the dark, NOT out of the night.
Oh, wasn’t it so much easier to live in the post-war boom years when we were the only industrial economy that hadn’t been destroyed by war?