Monday, March 1, 2010

IBM Layoffs Coming?

Several news sources are reporting that IBM will be conducting what they call "resource actions" this month(March). Resource actions are in reality layoffs/downsizing. This is a bit surprising since IBM posted their best year ever in profits for 2009 at 13.4 billion. There's been no official word yet so at the moment it's in the rumor stage. However, considering the fact that these leaks are coming from different locations it's probably a sign that there is something coming down.

Corporate downsizing is in vogue again after the recession hit. What concerns people is when companies making huge profits take these measures it seems unfair to the employees who helped build that profit. It probably is and a severance package most likely will be used to pay down credit cards, car payments, and perhaps get ahead on a mortgage. After that, there's a another paycheck taken out of the system and little spending money left to grease the economy. It's belt tightening time.

Another concern about this is the state of IT workers in the USA. During the technology boom of the '90's, jobs were created at breathless rates and the wages were outstanding. Things haven't been so rosy over the last ten years. A lot of jobs and production facilities were outsourced overseas, investment fell off after the dotcom bust, big companies gobbled up smaller ones and the software and hardware became much more user friendly therefore eliminating a lot of support positions. There's a lot of people with computer science degrees cleaning restrooms.

One could argue that this is the natural state of things in a dynamic free market economy where creative destruction of businesses fuels new advances and makes things better and stronger. My concern is that the IT industry is going in the same direction as steel and autos. Let's hope that this pending action doesn't include plans to outsource more work overseas.

Final rant:

I find it hard to believe that the economy can fully recover, much less expand, when our industrial base is shipped to China, good jobs are eliminated by downsizing, and the US government attacks the problem by throwing money we don't have at it. The bottom line is always a concern but when a company makes record profits and then eliminates jobs there's something a little out of kilter with fair play.

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