Timesizing® Associates

dooms du jour, Aug-July/1999
[Commentary] ©1998,1999 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Sq, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080


8/31/99 tue - 3 downsizings reported (total 630 +unspecified):  • 14% sales staff cut (500 salespeople) at the nation's largest computer retailer as CompUSA reorgs - should have done 14% hours cut (34.4-hour workweek!) & kept everyone employed, & selling  • 3½% workforce cut (130 jobs) as Sherwood Packaging closes a N.C. plant, instead of a 3½% workweek cut so everyone keeps working & spending  • unspecified cuts as the largest fast-seafood restaurant chain, Long John Silvers, closes 28 locations
+ 16 takeovers reported: • 1 in $Bs • 8 in $100Ms • 7 $?  (total $19B +$?)
+ 3 dark questions: • bankruptcy too socially acceptable? • inflation just as spot-specific as unemployment? • why all these killings/suicides in a "booming" economy? (now we have autoparts gunman & another killer nurse)
+ glimmers of hope:
  1 UPsizing as People's Bank opens 30 branches in Conn.

8/29-30 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  11 more downsizings reported (11,000 jobs gone +unspecified) + 6 bankruptcies + 56 takeovers this week ($24½B involved +undisclosed),
vs. 0 upsizings (0 new jobs) & 1 untakeover ($?)
<<<½YTD reports:  91D (94,855 jobcuts +?) + 453T ($312.25B +$?)
vs. 11 upsz (27,575 +?) + 13 untk ($16.675B+?)>>>
+ 1 late-reported Fri takeover (included in this roundup) + 5 badnews zingers:  • 40% call their jobs very or extremely stressful  • Stress is straining out young lawyers  • No progress in 100 years in drawing boundaries on work  • Age bias lives - in high tech  • If this economy is so "booming," how come it's hard times for small theaters? + 4 glimmers of hope:
  • 1 untakeover: regulators finally stop Banque Nationale de Paris  • UN finally nails us for torpedoing Russian economy  • Greenspan finally admits stock options inflate corporate earnings  • Lucent/Bell Labs advertises limited workweek to attract employees - "work here & still have time for your life'"

8/28 sat (on fri's events) - 2 more downsizings reported (total 1729):   1600 more layoffs in Singapore's electronics industry as world's biggest computer maker Compaq struggles to reverse losses by cutting jobs of its best customers, a few, a few more & a few more, instead of keeping everyone employed with hourscuts for all  • 129 jobs cut as BP Amoco engulfed in petrochemical industry's struggles and cuts some duplication from its giant merger in January + 1 bankruptcy mentioned - ICO follows Iridium into Chapter 11 as satellite mobile fones flop + 10 takeovers reported: • 4 in $100Ms • 4 in $10Ms • 2 $?  (total $2B +$?) + glimmers of hope:  At last, Greenspan links "inflation" & "stock market"!

8/27 fri - 2 more downsizings reported (total 2270):   2000 jobs to vanish as Swiss-based Sulzer struggles to prop plunging profits; but jobcuts munge morale, productivity & loyalty - as hourscuts, instead, would not  • 270 jobs cut (10% of workforce) as Autodesk software reacts to slower sales and new products by firing its best customers (its own employees), thus slowing sales further, instead of doing a 10% workweek cut (36-hr wk) to save the same money & get everyone more focused & prioritized + 8 takeovers reported: • 1 in $Bs • 3 in $100Ms • 3 in $10Ms • 1 $?  (total $2½B +$?) + 3 glimmers of hope:  • from top executive suite, 3 defections, the two women with very interesting comments  • from Fed's June decision to raise rates, a lone dissenter  • from German army expansion plans, 6000 fewer soldiers

8/26 thu - 2 downsizings reported (total 2680):   2200 people (24%) cut at Raychem, days after Tyco's takeover; a 30-hr workweek (24% hours cut) could have prevented this & preserved everyone's job  • 480 jobs cut (50% of US staff) as Komag diskdrives throws out the baby with the bathwater - cuts its markets as well as its costs - and moves manufacturing to Malaysia
+ new feature, frequently post-downsizing: 4 suicides reported
+ ‘pre-downsizings,’ 12 takeovers reported, totalling $9½B +$??
+ 2 bankruptcies mentioned:  • Conxus Communications paging network  • ImmuLogic biotech
+ collapse trends: • American CEOs leave training to others despite "tight labor market" smokescreen • global "tight labor market" sees a million desperate, skilled Brazilians applying for 10,000 jobs, with no hope for the unskilled
+ glimmers of hope:
  3rd-millennium economies will have pervasive, continuous training, retraining & cross-training - NY Times features futility of welfare reform without training on frontpage, Business section

8/25 wed - 4 downsizings reported (total 17,275):   13,000 people cut (100%!) at branches across the land, as Eaton's, Canada's most familiar & traditional department store, goes under   60% staff cut (2500 jobs) at Western Digital diskdrives in Singapore, vs. a 60% hours cut (16-hr wk) & everyone bails at their own pace  • 2½% workforce cut (1600 jobs) at Seagate diskdrives, also in Singapore, instead of 2½% workweek cut ( to 39 hrs/wk) & everyone keeps working...&shopping  • 5% workforce cut (175 employees) at Gartner Group in Stamford, instead of 5% workweek but (to 38 hrs/wk) & everyone stays employed
+ 1 huge bankruptcy:  Timothy Eaton Co. Ltd., Canada's Macy's, her oldest & dearest department store, a Canadian institution
+ subway suicides in Toronto - Eaton's layoff related?
+ downsizing preliminaries, 8 takeovers reported: • 3 in $100Ms • 4 in $10Ms • 1 $?  (total $1.36B +$?)
+ Ecuador in worst economic crisis since 1929 & (thanks, IMF!) under crushing $13B foreign debt load
+ glimmers of hope:
  • Justice Dept. finally called to justice for millions of illegal unpaid overtime hours  • 1 untakeover as Surge drops plan to buy Orbit  • gun sales banned in county of new-Nazi's shoorting spree

8/24 tue - the "robust" deathwish economy - 2 downsizings reported for athletic shoe makers (total 70 +unspecified):   7-8% workforce cut (70 people) at Converse in NC, instead of 7-8% workweek cut (to 37 hrs/wk) & everyone keeps working...& shopping   up to 25% staff cut at Reebok, vs. a 25% hours cut (30-hr wk) & everyone stays employed 
+ 2 bankruptcies mentioned:  • Filene's Basement  • Zenith Electronics
+ 17 takeovers reported: • 2 in $1Bs • 7 in $100Ms • 3 in $10Ms • 5 $?  (total $9.12B +$?)
+ glimmers of hope:
  Letter pleads for shorter workweek (40 hrs?!) + Pooling ruling could settle down merger mania

8/22-23 - average full-time workweek now back up to 1920 level, 47 hrs/wk - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  11 downsizings reported (7515 jobs gone +unspecified) + 2 bankruptcies
+ 38 takeovers this week ($27½B involved +undisclosed),
vs. 0 upsizings (0 new jobs) & 2 untakeovers ($??)
<<<½YTD reports:  80D (83,855 jobcuts +?) + 397T ($287.75B +$?)
vs. 11 upsz (27,575 +?) + 12 untk ($16.675B+?)>>>
+ if we confuse being important with being busy, no matter what we're doing, we go "Oops, I forgot to have a life"
+ glimmers of hope:
  Some CEOs are looking for a better balance in their lives than workworkwork

8/21 sat (on fri's events) - 2 downsizings reported (totalling 930 +unspecified): 
 13% staff cut (800 jobs) at Quantum diskdrives "to compete better," instead of a 13% hours cut (35-hr wk) & everyone keeps working...& buying
 130 layoffs + 150 jobs "moved" as Nortel Networks closes an R&D unit near Montréal
+ bad omen:  Timothy Eaton Co. Ltd., Canada's oldest dept store, closes all 9 Québec stores
+ 10 takeovers reported: • 1 in $b's • 2 in $100m's • 4 in $10m's • 3 $?  (total $2.63b +$?)
+ glimmers of hope -
Conservatism, in the dumb sense, in decline

8/20 fri - 1 downsizing reported:  2% staff cut (1,000 jobs) at British Airways after worst Q in 7 yrs, instead of a 2% hours cut (39-hr wk) & everyone keeps working - & flying
+ 9 takeovers reported: • 1 in $b's • 2 in $100m's • 2 in $10m's • 4 $?  (total $6.86b +$?)
+ record $24.6b trade deficit discloses braindeath beneath free trade fixation
+ glimmers of hope -
At least one big nation smart enough to send "Typhoid Mary" packing? - Brazil snubs next infusion of killer cash from the black widow of world finance, the IMF

8/19 thu - 3 downsizings reported (totalling at least 1,360) 33% staff cut (1,110 jobs) at Contifinancial in NYC, instead of a 33% hours cut (27-hr wk) & everyone keeps their job
 200 more jobcuts in Lexington as Raytheon breaks its 'job-keeping for taxbreaks' contract with Massachusetts taxpayers yet again
 17% staff cut (50 Americans) as Collins & Aikman auto carpet moves from Mich. to Mexico, when they could do a 17% hours cut (33-hr wk) & keep everyone working & using their car rugs
+ 10 takeovers reported: • 3 in $b's • 2 in $100m's • 1 in $10m's • 4 $?  (total $6.8b +$?)
+ the World Trade Organization is beginning to be recognized for what it is:
an insidious, standards-blanking autocracy driving all nations into a race to the bottom
+ glimmers of hope -
At least one big nation is hip to the danger of DEPRESSION - fearing deflation (=big depression symptom), China is setting limits on new factories

8/18 wed - growing population needs jobs, but we use technology to cut jobs & markets instead of work & stress - 1 downsizing reported + 2 bankruptcies mentioned:  Planet Hollywood to file Ch.11  Kiwi Air to file Ch.7 in 5 days unless... + 12 takeovers reported: • 5 in $100m's • 1 in $10m's • 6 $?  (total $1.53b +$?) + gov't spending $90m to create 63,000 jobs vs. decade's worst recession in Chile + glimmers of hope - E*Trade joins push into after-hours trading - trend forces clearer distinction between business hours and shifts, between "per-job" and "per-person" variables

8/17 tue - - a big day for jobcutting, paycutting(!) and constipating, sorry, we mean consolidating - 2 more downsizings reported (total 1,675 +unspecified) 15% staff cut (1400 consumers) at Union Bank in Cal., instead of 15% hours cut (to 34 hr/wk) & everyone keeps working & shopping  275 jobs burped & evaporated in Conn. & NJ as BF Goodrich digests its $2.2 billion buyout of Coltec Industries (when they could just trim hours and keep all their people together)
15 takeovers reported: • 3 in $b's • 5 in $100m's • 6 in $10m's • 1 $? (total $9.87b +$?)
+ scientists find the exact metaphor for our present economic stupidity: matter pulled into black hole
+ glimmers of hope:
• Bucky Fuller's dream of cheap lightweight battery substitutes comes closer
1 PAYsizing, not downsizing! - World Airways will cut salaries above $25K by 10% & may compensate with stock (but not shorter hours - hey, it's better than jobcuts!) - will it include top execs??

8/15-16 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  13 downsizings reported (16,700 jobs gone)
+ 38 takeovers ($15¼B involved),
vs. 1 upsizing (75 new jobs) & 0 untakeovers ($0)
///½YTD reports:  69D (76,340 jobcuts +?) + 359T ($260.25B +$?)
vs. 11 upsz (27,575 +?) + 10 untk ($16.675B+?)///
+ 1 weekend takeover 'tween two French banques + 1 downsizing to count next week - break out the black bunting: these 550 jobcuts trash America's most forward-looking firm of the '30s as Kellogg Cereals shuts most of hometown plant in Battle Creek, Mich. nearly 69 years after pioneering America's first 30-hour corporate workweek and creating livelihoods for 300 more Battle Creek heads of household + The West's guilty secret: Russia's a mess thanks to 'shock therapy' & 'reform'-labelled greed licensing + glimmers of hope:
  Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly fights 2 utility mergers for trying to charge to consumers merger payouts for stockholders & Wall Street bankers

8/14 sat (on fri's events) - a quiet day on America's glidepath to The Great Depression II - no downsizings; only one bankruptcy, tho' a high-tech one: Iridium, satellite fone firm, files for Chap.11 + only 9 takeovers reported:  • 1 in $b's • 4 in $100m's • 1 in $10m's • 3 $? (total $4.68b +$?) + forget the annual 6 weeks off that Europeans have had for decades, now an American book says, "Gee, there's this historically recent fluke called 'vacation'!"
+ glimmers of hope -
new mother at Zoo New England, trained by humans, bears baby close relative of ours

8/13 fri - today our CEOs are back in the groove, inducing depression with staff cuts, not hours cuts - * however, New Feature - we start tracking stock buybacks as positive, merger resistance *
5 more downsizings reported (total 2,597 new +unspecified) 10% workforce cut (2500 consumers) at Texaco, instead of 10% workweek cut (to 36 hrs) & everyone keeps working & keeps shopping  4% jobs (1500 people) cut 1 week after Liberty Mutual denied they'd cut 800, when they could avoid cutting any by cutting hours 4% for a 38.4-hr workweek  6% workforce cut (469 people) as Superior Telecomm closes 3 plants instead of 6% workweek cut  328 jobs cut as biggest fertilizer maker shuts 5 plants instead of cutting hours & keeping jobs  unspecified cuts at Wang HQ in Billerica, Mass. as new owner Getronics gets rough + 4 takeovers reported:  • 4 in $100m's • 1 $? (total $959m +$?) + havens for wealthy bankrupts offered by legislation in Florida and Texas
glimmers of hope:
  good news for Canucks, Canadian BUTTERTARTS (or close) have arrived in the USA (Boston area)

8/12 thu - - a relatively slow day for progress-retardant corporate strategists - 8 takeovers reported:  • 1 in $B's • 3 in $100M's • 1 in $10M's • 3 $? (total $2.92B +$?) + 1 looming bankruptcy in St. Louis
+ Japan jolts from job security to job hopping & Kansas schools drop back to Dark Ages by deleting evolution + glimmers of hope:
  75 new jobs in Fall River, Mass. as Travelers Property Casualty expands

8/11 wed - Losses? downsize!  Profits? downsize!  Eventual result? CEO-induced depression - 5 downsizings reported (total 12,820) up to 6000 jobcuts as Pratt & Whitney moves 3000 jobs from Fla. to Conn. & drops 3000 people in Conn. (avoidable by cutting workweek, not workforce)  • 4500 more cuts this year (total 14,500) as BP Amoco, with profits up 14%, lemmingly "cuts costs"   up to 15% staffcuts (1500 jobs, 3rd reorg in 3 years) at Silicon Graphics in Calif. instead of 15% hourscuts (to a 34-hr workweek) & continued employment for all   695 cuts as Oakwood Homes mfrd hsg retailer deactivates 3 plants   5% cut (125 jobs) at Stride Rite, instead of cutting hours by 5% to 38 per week for all & keeping everyone employed...& spending
+ 4 "words to the wise" 2300 more seniors "downsized" from HMO coverage   Survey reveals new health risk: 1 in 4 angry at work   Gunman downs 5 at LA daycamp   One American returning from long absence asks "What happened to America while I was away?"
+ 10 takeovers reported:  • 1 in $B's • 2 in $100M's • 3 in $10M's • 5 $?? (total $4.74B +$??)
+ glimmers of hope:
  • Holland does it more honestly - legalizes mercy killing & assisted suicide • At least one person's trying - Janet Reno has ideas to check inmate recidivism

8/10 tue - the jobless economy extends its tentacles - So far this year 36% more layoffs than last year's record, highest in decade (WCRB Boston 8 am news) + 3 downsizings reported (total 1281 +unspecified) 730 jobcuts (10%) as Rust-Oleum, in record profit, closes 23 plants (avoidable by cutting hours 10% for all to a 36-hr corporate workweek)  551 cuts at Mass. Mutual Life (11.5%) in Springfield & Hartford, vs. chopping hours 11.5% to 35-a-week for all & keeping everyone employed (& spending)   unspecified cuts at Data General as EMC engulfs it, maybe offset by 1500 new EMC jobs (but "let's generate anxiety to bar raises" & spending & markets = Market as new Ocean of Infinite Exploitability) + 7 more takeovers reported:  • 1 in $B's • 2 in $100M's • 2 in $10M's • 2 $?? (total $1.98B +$??) + glimmers of hope:  • Boston venture capitalist Chris Grace wants state ballot question on Internet access • Concord Coalition's Bob Bixby wants "surplus" to pay down $5.5T national debt

8/8-9 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  12 downsizings reported (10,440 jobs gone) + 72 takeovers ($66B involved),
vs. 4 upsizings (1100 new jobs +??) & 2 untakeovers ($?)
<<½YTD reports:  56D (60,640 jobcuts +?) + 321T ($245B +$?)
vs. 10 upsizings (27,500 new jobs + unspecified) + 10 untakeovers ($16.675B+?)>>
+ glimmers of hope:
  2 population reasons for referendum democracy - • debating immigration: racism! vs. ecology! vs. simply determining if & when we're getting "too much of a good thing"• 1st long-term study of crime & tax savings in the '90s from legalizing reproductive choice in '73

8/07 sat (on fri's events) - 2 downsizings reported (total 3200) 2900 jobcuts (40%) planned by Placer Dome in their Jo-burg mines, avoidable by cutting hours (not people) 40% in this dangerous work to a 24-hr workweek for all  300 cuts at Cahners Business Info (7% nationwide), instead of chopping hours 7% to 37.2 a wk for all & keeping everyone employed (& spending)
+ 7 takeovers reported:  • 2 in $b's • 3 in $100m's • 2 $?? (total $19.27b +$??)
+ glimmers of hope:
  • Town citizens fight appalling conditions in juvenile prison • 1 upsizing: 1000 new jobs as Providian Financial opens new ops center in Louisville • FHA to set new limit on overtime for truckers

8/06 fri - 2 downsizings reported (total 1000) 800 jobcuts, already started, denied by Liberty Mutual in Boston  200 cuts (8%) as Sterling Commerce web software reorgs, thus pounding productivity by munging morale & lowering loyalty, all avoidable by cutting workweek, not workforce, 8% to 36.8 hrs/wk & keeping everyone employed (& spending) + 11 takeovers reported: • 5 in $100m's • 2 in $10m's • 4 $?? (total $2.07b +$??) + another workplace shooting leaves 3 dead in "Alabam" + glimmers of hope:  • 2 upsizings: 100 new jobs at PNC Bank in Pa. & unspecified new jobs as Calpine plans a new power plant in Calif. • 2 untakeovers: cancel LSME Holding's takeover of Lucent's small-business sales unit & lengthen odds on Central European Media's merger with SBS Broadcasting

8/05 thu - 2 downsizings reported (totalling 2500) 2000 jobcuts (3.9%) as Dow Chemical "dissolves" Union Carbide, vs. cutting to 38-hr workweek  500 jobcuts as Hutchinson Technology cuts workforce 6¼% to hike productivity by cutting costs - thus hitting productivity by bashing loyalty & morale, all avoidable by cutting workweek, not workforce, 6¼% to 37½ hrs/wk & keeping everyone employed (& spending) + 15 takeovers reported: • 1 in $b's • 4 in $100m's • 4 in $10m's • 6 $?? (total $10.94b +$??)
+ glimmers of real solution:
  Britain lines up with EU & cuts the workyear for new parents

8/04 wed - 3 downsizings 1,910 jobcuts (21%) & 3 closed factories after Jones Apparel's $1½B takeover of NineWest, instead of 31.6-hr workweek for all (or just no takeover in 1st place)
 1,000 cuts (7.4%) at St. Paul insurance in Minn. instead of 37-hr workweek & all keep jobs
 150 cuts, 20% of golf-gear makers at Fortune Brands & 3 of 6 locations closed - should have cut 20% of workweek instead = four 8-hour days! & kept everyone employed (& spending!) + 22 takeovers reported: • 6 in $b's • 6 in $100m's• 7 in $10m's • 1 in $1m's • 2 $?? (total $31b +$??) + glimmers of hope:
  J. Jill Group opening two stores, planning 8-10 more

8/03 tue - 1 downsizing, maybe:  House cuts could force 10% layoff at SEC + 16 takeovers reported: • 6 in $100m's • 5 in $10m's • 5 $?? (total $2.73b +$??) + Bill Gates denies plan to give it all away + glimmers of hope:  2.1% Boston job growth (but still 18th in US despite hi tech)

8/01-02 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  12 downsizings (25,000 jobs gone) + 88 takeovers ($96B involved), vs. 2 upsizings (10,400 new jobs) & 0 untakeovers ($0)
<<½YTD reports:  44D (50,200 jobcuts +?) + 249T ($179B +$?)
vs. 6 upsizings (26,400 new jobs) + 8 untakeovers ($16.675B+$?)>>
+ 2 weekend downsizings reported (counted next wk): • 680 jobcuts at Sears HQ in Illinois (10% HQ) • unspecified jobcuts at Daewoo Motor Co (30% of worldwide execs & mgrs) + 2 weekend takeovers: • Jarvis Hotels buys London's Regents Park Hotel from Hilton for $113M • 2 Houston ad agencies: Fogarty Klein gulps Taylor Speier for $?? + glimmers of hope:
  Bill Gates plans to give it all ($100B) away (or does he?)

7/31 sat (on fri's news) - lemming-brained execs grope on toward cliffs - 1 downsizing:  4600 "maybe" US jobcuts as GE "may" shift production to Mexico + 10 takeovers reported: • 2 in $b's • 4 in $100m's • 2 in $10m's • 1 for $0! • 1 $?? (total $4.62b+$??) + 2 collapse inducers:  • Russia depopulates - they asked of us a fish, we gave them a serpent • transferring risk from Wall Street to consumers
+ glimmers of hope:
  • Ford timesizing on a week-by-week basis due to parts shortage
• Teamsters press UPS to deliver 10,000 new contract-required jobs

7/30 fri - "death by a thousand cuts" - 4 more downsizings 520 jobcuts as Kodak closes film plant in China   200 at Lubrizol in Ohio   200 at Respironics in Pa.   unspecified cuts as Boston ad firm CC&D shuts its doors + 15 takeovers reported: • 3 in $100m's • 5 in $10m's • 7 $undisclosed (total $878m+undisclosed) + 2 tragedies of stress: • employers hike stress & invade family time with overtime • day trader freaks & slays 9 at brokerages in Atlanta
+ glimmers of hope:
  • Ford actually planning to add training programs! • 400 new jobs at Bell Atlantic & 15-wk training program (but still just a drop in the bucket) • 6000 new jobs in Detroit (but in casinos??)

7/29 thu -

Things fall apart [Wall St pushes them];
the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,...
The best lack all conviction [Clinton, Bush...],
while the worst [stock advisors]
Are full of passionate intensity....
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
...Twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking [Dow],
And what rough beast, its hour come round [again],
Slouches towards [Bedlam] to be born?
(Yeats, writing early in the 1920s)
4 downsizings:  8000 jobcuts (11%) at EDS in Texas  8000 more (12%) worldwide as Compaq closes some plants  250 (6%) at Cabot Corp. in Boston  unspecified 100's at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care + 8 takeovers reported: • 2 in $100m's • 3 in $10m's • 3 $undisclosed (total $969m +undisclosed) + collection of creepy captions: • menu of doomscales • IMF gives Mother Russia another kiss of death (another $$BB loan) • regular census costs come as big surprise to dumb House leaders • Albany poised to renew lame lobbying law • pols hollow out to all surface • let's package ourselves.com & go IPO • hacker-proofing networks by clobbering privacy + glimmers of hope -  Bill Bradley targets money in politics

7/28 wed - Gestating the Great Depression II - new record:  35 takeovers reported: • 1 in $10b's • 3 in $b's • 5 in $100m's • 5 in $10m's • 1 in $10m's • 20 $undisclosed (total $72.44b +undisclosed) + 2 downsizings:  1600 jobs (15%) lost as Foster Wheeler cuts jobs to cut costs instead of cutting 15% of its hours for all   300-400 jobs (3.5%) lost as Lason Inc closes 24 facilities, when cutting to 38.6 hours a week would have kept everyone employed
+ formula for disaster:  Massachusetts lets 2 monopoly utilities pass merger costs ($½B!) onto customers
+ glimmers of hope -
  US Senate takes small step toward one-bill one-issue legislation

7/27 tues - Record takeover day as CEOs keep consolidating companies toward massive Black Hole - 20 takeovers reported: • 3 in $b's • 7 in $100m's • 1 in $10m's • 8 $?? (total $17.45b +$undisclosed) + 1 downsizing: • 825 jobs vaporize as Lloyds of London closes custody unit + Wellesley College économiste emerita redflags the growing income gap
+ glimmers of hope -
  3 big donors cut off Boston's MFA for firing 18 employees

7/25-26 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG): 
11 downsizings (7400 jobs gone) + 50 takeovers ($17b involved), vs. 0 upsizings & 1 untakeover ($?)
{½YTD reports:  32D (25,200 jobcuts +?) + 161T ($83b +$?)
vs. 3 upsizings (10,000 new jobs) + 8 untakeovers ($16.675B+$?)}
+ high techies getting insulated and masochistic
+ glimmers of hope:
  Elf Aquitaine drops plans to cut 1300 jobs in France

7/24 sat (for fri) - 1 downsizing: • 200 jobcuts (12.5%) at PictureTel videoconferencing software in Massachusetts + 2 bankruptcy mentions slip out: • NYC-based Forstmann & Co. textiles goes Chap. 11 • bankrupt Thorn Apple Valley gleans $115m by selling off pork plants
+ 10 takeovers reported: • 1 in $b's • 2 in $100m's • 2 in $10m's • 5 $?? (total $1.68b +$undisclosed) + glimmers of hope (or irony) -
  GOP's big taxcut restores the 3-martini lunch & other Great Benefits to Society

7/23 fri - 2 downsizings & 1 coverup: • 200 jobcuts (6.4%) as American Power shutters Fla. plant • 150 (20%) cuts at Inso digital publishing software in Boston• "Kaiser provides details of departure from northeast" but still no job loss figures + 8 takeovers reported: • 1 in $b's • 4 in $100m's • 2 in $10m's • 1 $?? (total $3.02b +$undisclosed) + glimmers of hope -  GOP passes big taxcut (but what about the $5T debt & SocSec bankruptcy) + Kennedy party buried at sea (but that's where we just retrieved them from)

7/22 thurs - "American nasty" -  3 downsizings & 1 whitewash: • 2500 cuts as Kodak closes huge plant & production line • Canadian Pacific RR to cut 1900 (10%) • CB Richard Ellis to consolidate & cut 70 managers • Layoffs in 1st half '99 running 40% above last yr's record but NYT: "It's actually not that bad, really, honestly, truthfully, trust us, trust us..." + 10 takeovers reported: • 2 in $b's • 1 in $100m's • 1 in $10m's • 6 $?? (total $7.95b+undisclosed)
+ glimmers of hope -
  Internet economy becomes decentralized + Portugal thwarts a takeover

7/21 wed - 2 bankruptcy mentions slip out: • Loewen funeral chain of Canada OKed for $200m survival loan • Levitz Furniture of Boca Raton sells off $93m worth of stores & warehouses + 8 takeovers reported: • 1 in $b's • 2 in $100m's • 3 in $10m's • 2 $?? (total $1.55b+undisclosed) + May's trade deficit still breaking records at $21b, New attempt to shrug off Japan's vanishing lifetime employment
+ glimmers of hope -
  guns going the way of tobacco as gun cos. break ranks & negotiate?

7/20 tue - 5 downsizings reported: • (5850 firings – 2000 hirings =) 3850 net firings at First Union bank • 600 at Oryx Gold Mine in South Africa • unspecified firings as Centrica in Britain shuts 243 retail stores • ditto as American Retail closes Upton chain • ditto as 60 Massachusetts hospitals face $724m cut in Medicare (today's total 4450+ economic fatalities) + 13 takeovers reported: • 1 in the $b's • 4 in the $100m's • 1 in the $10m's • 7 $?? (total $2.37b) + N.H. charities develop a stake in big prison population + glimmers of hope -  2 historic firsts: • Fortune 500 firm picks female CEO from outside • California bans assault guns; In France, Elf plays PacMan's reverse gobble 'gainst hostile takeover

7/18-19 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  8 downsizings (13,000 jobs gone +?) + 60 takeovers ($60b +$?? involved +$?)
{½YTD reports:  21D (17,800 jobcuts +?) + 111T ($66b +$??), vs. 3 upsizings (10,000 new jobs, 75% over next 10 yrs, note delay) + 7 untakeovers ($16.675B+??)}
+ already for next week, one new merger ($280m) & two old ones clinched
+ "unpaid work is proving to be the price of getting ahead"? so slavery is now progress?!
+ glimmers of hope:
  Dow Chemical in rare accord with environmentalists

7/17 sat (re fri's biz) - 2 downsizings reported: • 74 jobcuts at Albemarle chemicals in Richmond • unspecified cuts at Cooper lighting in Houston + 8 takeovers: • 1 in $b's • 2 in $100m's • 4 in $10m's • 1 $?? (total $30.55b) + creeping collapse: • Bill Gates hits $100 billion • Mexican companies still bleedin' from banking crisis
glimmers of hope:
  1 upsizing: • Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals to create up to 7500 jobs in Indiana in next 10 years + 1 untakeover: • TSI measuring instruments rejects hostile shareholder takeover from JJF Acquisition

fri, 7/16 - 1 downsizings reported: • BP Amoco to possibly double 10,000 jobcuts already announced + 12 takeovers reported: • 0 in $b's • 5 in $100m's • 3 in $10m's • 4 $?? (total $1.46b)
+ glimmers of hope:
  2 UNtakeovers: • Oneida shuns Libbey's latest takeover bid of $625m • Brazil antitrust ices its twin megabrewer merger

7/15 - creeping collapse: • recession-spurred suicides soar as jobless "say-onara" in world 's #2 economy • "low unemployment" American-style:  6000 applicants for 1500 low-pay jobs in Rhode Is. + 2 downsizings reported: • Sikorsky to cut 1100 jobs (14%) & shut some Conn. facilities • 350 jobcuts (12%) at Perkin-Elmer (total 1450)
+ 8 takeovers reported: • 0 in $b's • 4 in $100m's • 2 in $10m's • 2 $?? (total $1.04b)
vs. glimmers of hope:
  2 upsizings: • Oracle to add 1000 jobs in Mass. • Providence Mall creates 1500 (but 6000 wanted) + 3 UNtakeovers: • Kingston Tech buys back 80% of itself from Softbank for $450m • 4 bidders vanish as One 2 One insists on min. £10b ($15.6b) • Racing Champions snubs $11/share bid from Enna (snubbed RA's $10/share on 7/01)

7/14 - From robust economic diversity to fragile monoculture - 3 downsizings reported: • Amsouth cuts 1400 jobs (10%) & 24 branches (3.5%) after gulping 1st American • unspecified cuts as bankrupt Loehmann's seeks 14 store closings (25%) • unspecified cuts as century-old newspaper dies in Indiana + 12 takeovers reported: • 2 in the $b's • 7 in the $100m's • 2 in the $10m's • 1 $?? (total $14.75b)
vs. glimmers of hope:
  Clinton tries halt pension looting + 1 UNtakeover: Another merger scotched (2d time!) - twixt Tyco & Williams

7/13 - 0 downsizings reported but 'corporate condensation' and diversity loss speeds up - record-breaking 19 takeovers reported: • 4 in the $b's • 10 in the $100m's • 2 in the $10m's • 3 $?? (total $12.34b) + Argentina's deepening depression starts domino stock drop in Latin America, U.S. agribusiness pressures Congress for another big bailout
+ glimmers of hope:
  Fatuous "free" trade dies well-deserved death

7/11-12 - weekend roundup of the Waste of the Week, per the NYT (+BG): 13 downsizings (4800 jobs lost +??) + 51 takeovers ($16b involved +$??)
{½YTD: 13 downsizings (4800jobcuts +?) + 51 takeovers ($16b+$?), vs. 0 upsizings + 0 untakeovers}
+ 1 $?? merger (announced on a Sunday?! - lawyers are crazy)
+ Asia "rebounds" because the pain is invisible on traders' screens; US Congress' forked tongue on deficit/surplus; "antitrust in slow lane" - no kiddin'!
prisons fill with mentally ill
+ glimmers of hope:
• New Englander explodes against today's long hours • new U.S. citizen, Khrushchev Jr.

7/10 - Dumb American CEOs still herding over the cliffs like lemmings & pushing their employees & markets in front of them - 3 downsizings reported:  • 500 jobcuts at UnionBancal in San Francisco  • 60 at CytoTherapeutics in R.I.  • unspecified cuts at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Mass. (today's total 560+) + another 8 takeovers reported: • 2 in the $b's • 4 in the $100m's • 0 in the $10m's • 2 $?? (total $3.71b) + prematurely unified Euro currency slides as economies sputter + glimmers of hope:  Commerce Dept. kills mickeymouse Internet fee, French 'morning after' pill finally coming to America & hopefully deflating abortion war

7/09 - With CEOs downsizing folks like this, who needs communism to take down capitalism? "Oh they can get new jobs!" Maybe, but we still don't maintain spending levels (or markets)
+ 4 downsizings reported:  • 2000 jobcuts at Altos Hornos Steel in Mexico  • 800 US & foreign cuts at SmithKline  • unspecified cuts at Lockheed  • unspecified at Disney (today's total 2800)
+ 8 takeovers ("cut preps"): • 0 in the $b's • 4 in the $100m's • 2 in the $10m's • 2 $?? (total $1.53b)
+ glimmers of hope:
  NASD fines Prudential $20m for decade of deceiving customers

7/08 - "Rule by fear" - 3 downsizings (again!):  • 1300 jobcuts & 6 plant closings after DuPont takeover of Herberts auto paints in Europe  • 200 cuts as Sony shuts its North American wireless phone unit  • 20 firings at MFA in Boston & 30 hirings just to clone one's own creatures & make clear who's boss + 16 takeovers (total $3.45b again!): • 1 in the $b's • 1 in the $100m's • 3 in the $10m's • 11 $?? + glimmers of hope:  Clinton protects American steel and lamb jobs; Toyota moving beyond seniority (to ??)

7/7 - U.S. economy dying "by a thousand cuts" - 3 downsizings reported:  • 171 layoffs + 187 'early retires' at Pratt&Whitney in Conn.  • 200 cuts at Respironics in Pittsburgh  • 150 cuts at EFTC in Denver + 14 takeovers (total $3.45b): • 1 in the $b's • 4 in the $100m's • 4 in the $10m's • 5 $undisclosed + the spreading rot of sports subsidies; Clinton thinks Walgreens is going to save depressed cities + glimmers of hope:  German unemployment goes down 0.1% to 10.1%

7/06 - 5 takeovers (US holiday): • 2 in the $b's • 1 in the $100m's • 1 in the $10m's • 1 $?? (total $3.88b) + Ecuador collapsing under $16b of IMF debt "aid"; supreme folly in Supreme Court on hours-cap constitutionality; recent changes in workweek cosmetic only
glimmers of hope:
  • Greenspan finally senses inflation in - STOCKS  • MIT guru admits computers split rich & poor
• NEW FEATURE - starting today, 26 weeks ahead of Dec.31/99, we keep halfyear-to-date (½YTD) running totals our key bad & good business news, to be registered in each of our 'weekend roundups' (can't do complete YTD because only started much fuller NY Times coverage 2 wks ago)

7/04-05 - weekend roundup of Pastweek's Pessimism as reported in NYT (+BG):
9 downsizings (5900 jobs lost) + 63 takeovers (over $108b)
+ Star Wars' Phantom Menace has same plot as PBS Frontline special The Crash, Milton Friedman's biggest academic blunder followed by similar blunder by Republicans on vast real-world scale
+ glimmers of hope:
  One NYT page, 2 worktime articles! + New book (The Great Disruption) confused but getting warm + Silver lining to darkening US marriage

7/03 - Be sure to catch PBS Frontline special The Crash if you haven't already, last screening laaate nite Sat/eeearly Sun. morning (7/4) at 4 am on Boston Channel 2.  Set your VCRs!
2 downsizings reported: • 1500 jobcuts as Ace engulfs Cigna unit & shuts 40 offices • 1000 jobs in limbo as Shaw's gulps Star Mkts & divests 10 stores (total 2500) + In Japan downsizings cause record suicides but US media "economy great! economy great!", In Russia drunken drownings but IMF chief "no big deal" + 10 takeovers: • 1 in the $b's • 2 in the $100m's • 2 in the $10m's • 1 in the $m's • 4 $undisclosed (total $4.17b) + glimmers of hope:
  Phillips renews shareholder rights plan vs. frenzied takeover environment

7/02 - Be sure to catch PBS Frontline special The Crash if you haven't already, last screening laaate nite Sat/eeearly Sun. morning (7/4) at 4 am on Boston Channel 2.  Set your VCRs!
3 downsizings reported:  • 800 jobs cut at Dupont farm chemicals unit • 125 jobs cut at Brown & Sharpe Mfg in R.I. • 120 jobs cut as Suiza gulps & closes Broughton Foods in Charleston, WV (total 1045)
+ 9 takeovers: • 2 in the $100m's • 4 in the $10m's • 1 for $1! • 2 $undisclosed (total $1.27b)
+ 3rd-largest Mexican bank collapses, low-IQ U.S. Congress undoes hard-learned banking lessons of the Depression + glimmers of hope:
  2 economists pop BIG question: what if interest rate cuts aren't enough?

7/01/99 - 1 downsizing reported:  1650 jobs cut at Phelps Dodge, most in the southwest
+ 15 takeovers: • $15b Italian banking • $3.1b cable TV • $575m telecomm equipment • $345m phone switching eqpmt • $250m healthcare/medical news • $220m banking • $107m British textiles • $83m how-to publishing • $59m Euro language software • $? autos/tanks • $? advertising • $? computer chips • $? investment banking • $? asset management • $? US/Euro baking (total $19.74b)
+ Mass. microcosm dramatizes concentration of skills, work & wealth at the hub + how long can we save the world by moving (concentrating) everybody here? - when, what, how centrifuge?
+ glimmers of hope:
  3 takeovers scuttled: • $300m Brit.outsourcing • $? racing collectibles • $? Brit./Korean banking


Click here for dooms du jour in Jun-May/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in before Apr.30/99.


For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available online from *Amazon.com and at bookstores in Harvard and Porter Squares, Cambridge, Mass.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.


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