50,000 layoffs this week

HP lays off 15,000

Winn-Dixie retools, lays off 22,000 workers

Kodak plans to cut 10,000 more jobs

That's nearly 50,000 people out of their jobs this week.

Here's another 6000 - that pushes us over the top to 53000.

"DALLAS - Kimberly-Clark Corp., the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, said Friday it plans to cut about 6,000 jobs and sell or close up to 20 manufacturing plants, while boosting spending on certain core product lines and emerging markets during the next three and a half years. ..."
That's not good, but is it horrible?

I'm looking at this, US Department of Labor Employment Situation reports.

That said, I'm not entirely sure of how to interpret them. "50,000 jobs" is 50 points on these charts, which measure in the thousands.

But I really don't know how to think about these figures.

-- lion
You can't look at job losses in isolation.

That's why most of Brain's estimates for those who lose jobs in industries taken over by robots are wrong. Just because someone loses his or her job, doesn't mean they will stay unemployed. The affects are not cumulative though out time: just because 1/2 the jobs turnover in 10 years doesn't mean 50% of people are unemployed.

If anything unemployment is _low_ right now, so unless the argument is "this is the start of an immediate new trend", quoting recent major layoffs means little.

I mean, it’s _good_ of a company like HP were to become more efficient, for the same reason it is good to _not_ “buy American” if China can produce higher quality, cheaper products: the loss might be hard on a minority, but the streamlined system is good for everyone. Look at Japan, where “zombie” companies are kept alive to the detriment of all.

Unemployment is low because many people have left the labor force. US employment participation rate(SA) was at 66.0% in June which is about the level it has been at for the last year and a half and is well below the levels from 1995-2002 which ranged frmo 66.8% to 67.9%

A study by Alliance Capital found that manufacturing employment in the 20 larget economies last 20 million jobs between 1995 and 2002. That includes China which lost 15 million during that period. Automation is likely responsible for much of that decline.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It can in fact be a tremendous boon freeing people from the drudgery of manual labor. But only if the benefits accrue evenly across the population. Without recognizing the issue and planning to deal with it, we will be left with huge class disparities.

Many keep saying, that the jobs will shift to something new, but where exactly? I haven't seen any developments which portend new job creation.
Oh; I should clarify:

Is 50,000 jobs a lot to lose right now?

Or is it just statistical fuzz on the background of ordinary life?

How do I know? (What references should I be looking at?)

-- lion
Kodak - Much like the typewriter, film is going the way of the dinosaur. So much of Kodak's core business was film sales, so is this really that big of a surprise?

HP - Make crappy computers (and ok printers). Our HP/Compaq computers give us hell on a daily basis almost, we will never buy from them again. The last I heard, Dell is booming.

Winn-Dixie - Consumers have to purchase their groceries from somewhere- I wonder if their competitors are hiring now that so many Winn-Dixie stores are closing? A shelf stocker's job is the same no matter where they work.

Sure, robots will play a roll in future job closings, but I don't see these closings as being caused by such.
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