With talks of the auto makers in trouble, the decrease in fuel consumption (despite the lower prices at the pump), and layoffs amongst many city, county and school employees (including universities), I wanted to give an outline of how our local (and rural area) will be suffering from job losses.
We are going to lose 9,800 jobs in a 5 county area (a mainly rural area). Approximately 2,600 of those jobs are people that live in my county. This major job loss stems from DHL pulling their business, taking it elsewhere, back to Germany. The ABX employees that work at the airstrip, ensuring DHL gets their daily shipments in and out, will lose their employment. A percentage already have.
The commercial air strip is 25 minutes away from our farm. Many of our neighbors, friends and famly are employed at ABX/DHL. Some of the employees are farmers, most cannot afford the current diesel fuel prices, and some that cannot either afford or obtain health care without the 2nd job (1st job farming). If they cannot afford diesel, and if they cannot afford health care, I can see hay, feed, and (human) food prices on the increase. I can see many more foreclosures on farms and properties.
Last year ABX employees started posting red signs in their yards, similar to real estate sale signs, to indicate that they were employed at ABX. For a while, and still to this day on some occasions, it brings the goose bumps up to see how many people are going to be affected by these jobs losses. Within one mile of home, I can count at least 7 households that will be affected.
We have already seen businesses close, with more to follow. We have been told by our local real estate experts that our property values are to decrease, and the economic experts are saying the values will stay in a slump for at least the next 2 decades. The example given, to put this in perspective, a property valued at 195,000 a few years ago, will be valued at 145,000 within the next year. Because of the economy, we have been told property taxes will be increasing this coming year as well. More taxes, less property values.
Some of my friends are farmers at night, school teachers during the day. They are concerned about the children attending their schools. A nearby school is expecting to see 40% of the children's parents unemployed once DHL completely pulls out.
The pull out is expected to be nearly complete by 1/31/09. We hear news daily of the next round of job losses. As in today's newspaper article: http://www.timesgazette.com/main.asp?SectionID=18&SubSectionID=175&ArticleID=159893&TM=46995.52
In my estimation, there is nothing we can do to stop DHL. United States government officials have tried, politicians have tried, people have tried to stop the deal. The deal is happening.
My husband has been unemployed for 6 months. Yesterday's paper had no job listings in it, the big 0! And I keep thinking about these 9,800 people. Who is going to employ them? Is there going to be a people bail out (like a big bank or car manufacturer might receive)? Help is needed.
I cannot change the economy. I cannot change any of the after affects. The only thing I can do is hang tight, prepare to be a good community member. Keep my boots on, and hold on to them snugly. It could be a slippery ride. They say what goes down has to come back up. That is what I am focused on, the ride back up.
I am a optimist. This article is not meant to be negative, it is just factual. I wish we all had an answer!
Until the prayers are answered, keep your faith!