More Cutbacks by Year End?

Christina Lewellen
November 9, 2011

I had noticed through the summer and early part of fall that the number of times I learned on Facebook that another friend had been laid off was  dwindling. In fact, it had been so many weeks without that pit-of-the-stomach feeling on behalf of a friend that I was a little shocked when I recently saw two friends in a matter of days announce that they were now desperately seeking work opportunities.

According to recent jobs reports, we may be seeing some easing of layoffs in the job market. Just a few days ago, Reuters reported that U.S. employers are adding more jobs than we would have expected, which is good news. Still, last week’s WDweekly was the bearer of some tough news for the industry, as we reported on several manufacturers’ plant closings—thus leaving more industry folks out of work. This supported the notion that my super-informal Facebook gauge was correct.

In our poll question this week, I’d like to ask about layoffs at your company. With the back-half of the year delivering a less-than-awesome economic performance–perhaps lower than what we originally thought we’d see in earlier projections–is your company considering or executing additional cutbacks in the workforce? Is it necessary to cut back even more to start 2012 on more solid footing? Or have hiring/layoff activities moved into a neutral zone at your company? Please consider sending me an email or posting a comment to share what you’re experiencing.

Survey Results as of 11/15/2011 :

As we finish the year, my company is likely to:

Make additional cutbacks to the workforce




Maintain the status quo




Hire additional workers




It looks like Andersen, as well as the companies that announced plant closings in the past few weeks, are not alone in reducing their workforce before heading into 2012. This is not particularly surprising, given the fact that 2011 didn't quite reach the level of recovery most of us were anticipating at the start of the year.

Still, while some are getting aligned with market conditions to be prepared for a successful 2012, others took a moment to write to me this week and say that they’re bucking industry trends. One industry rep emailed me to say his company is hiring select talent, particularly those who were let go by competitors, and placing them in key positions within the company.

Another reader, Chris Brown, general manager of Exclusive Windows & Doors of Austin, wrote to share that his company is looking to add several new employees as the Austin, Texas, high-end market continues to recover.

In fact, given the recent news in our industry of continued layoffs and cutbacks, and the results of this week’s poll that indicate that more will be on the way, I told our loyal reader Chris that I would plug the open positions in his company.

“If you know of qualified, quality individuals that might be interested in a career position with a great small company in Austin, Texas, for the positions listed below, please have them contact me,” he writes, noting that they’re hiring a service manager, an outside sales rep and a service tech to start.

Why not end this topic on a high note, right??

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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Sad news overall but it's overly optimistic to think that the broad market is going to recover much soon and will never again reach the artificially over-inflated level seen in the years prior to the downturn.  Right now those who feel financially secure enough are taking advantage of the contunued low interest rates to buy new homes or make improvements to their existing home.  The luxury market has been going strongly with very affluent buyers taking advantage of depressed real estate as a good investment to diversify portfolios.

Right now the biggest variable is the instability in Europe which may influence the US up or down. South Florida has seen an influx of investments from overseas as a safe haven but the economy as a whole may see another downturn if the EU doesn't stabilize.

Smaller smart dealers like Exclusive in Austin and our company that have aggressively adapted will thrive and grow and we also plan to continue to selectively add highly qualified staff.

Ken Sandlin

Sales Manager 

Sunex International Inc.

Pompano Beach, FL