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How's Your Business?
Hard to calculate, isn't it?
By Jennifer Hazen

This question seems to be the most asked question today in the ESD world. Anyone who has been watching the news section of the ESD Journal has seen several of our ranks either go away or suffer severe cutbacks. From JIT to Sterling to UTP to Lucent the story looks bleak for our industry. The companies whose stocks were so desired a few months ago are trash today. Is there light at the end of this tunnel or is that the oncoming train?

Most companies do not wish to be quoted but the ranges we are hearing for business slow down is from 30% to 70% on the average. Of course this is devastating for many even to the point of bankruptcy. Many of the large companies in our industry have laid-off more than 20,000 people each. How long will this last? Will it cause the Symposium attendance this year to be down?


Send us your comments on the outlook for business for our industry. We will post them as they are received.

There does seem to be some hope in the latest numbers but one has to look hard.

According to a report by Linda Rosencrance, Computerworld online, ----- While Dot-com layoffs are at their lowest level since last November, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.(a recruiting firm) says overall job cuts in the U.S. are up 56 percent.

According to the Chicago-based firm, which tracks job-cut announcements daily, layoffs at Internet-related companies fell for the second consecutive month in June, to 9,216, a decrease of 31 percent from May's 13,419 cuts. Layoffs in May fell 24 percent from April's record high of 17,554. June's cuts are the lowest since last November's 8,789.

Despite this decline, the staff reductions this June are significantly higher than the 1,652 recorded in June a year ago, the company noted.

June's numbers brought the six-month job-cut total to 74,199, more than 14 times higher than the 5,097 cuts recorded during the same period a year ago.

For the fourth consecutive month, Internet technology firms led all other dot-com categories, with 5,817 jobs eliminated. Dot-coms offering professional services such as advertising, marketing and consulting had 1,185 cuts in June, while consumer service firms reported 1,130.

"We are seeing more job cuts from well-known companies vs. the mom-and-pop category that seemed to dominate the earlier waves of dot-com cuts," said John Challenger, the outplacement firm's CEO, in a statement. "It would appear that many of the smaller, independent dot-com firms have been swallowed up by their larger competitors or have fallen into bankruptcy and eventual closure."

Meanwhile, in a report released today, Challenger said overall job-cut announcements by U.S. companies rose 56 percent in June, to 124,852, up from 80,140 in May, bringing the six-month total to more than 770,000. Challenger said this is the sixth time in seven months that layoffs exceeded 100,000.

According to Challenger, this June's job-cut numbers increased 624 percent compared with June of last year, when job cuts totaled 17,241 -- a three-year record low. Job cuts in the first half of 2001 totaled 777,362, 27 percent higher than the 613,960 layoffs reported in all of 2000.

Challenger said the telecommunications industry led other business sectors with 27,446 cuts in June, bringing its six-month total to 130,442. The number was 49 percent higher than the second-ranked automotive industry, which reported 87,613 job cuts this year. The computer industry reported 74,723 job cuts for the year, while industrial goods had 59,496 and electronics reported 59,181.

The jobs eliminated in June include 4,006 in the automotive industry, 8,950 in the computer industry, 22,698 in the industrial goods area and 7,515 in electronics.


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