So, as the Talking Heads on the Idiot Box argue over whether we are headed for another recession, and what unemployment numbers really mean, one thing I haven't heard talked about is the pending expiration of the American Recovery Act(Stimulus Act) funding.
It might not be news on the national stage, but it's on every one's mind out at the Hanford Site.
We have three main contractors at the site...two of them have different clean-up areas of responsibility, and the 3rd one, that I work for, is responsible for feeding recovered liquid waste to the Glass Vitrification Plant when it goes on line. All three contractors received stimulus money. The two clean-up contractors used that money to hire a lot of people to speed up cleanup, to hit contract time bonuses. My contractor did a little bit of hiring, but instead put a lot of the money into infrastructure upgrades, since it is the only contractor on site that really has a 'future'(clean-up work really starts hitting some milestones in the next year, and can expect its workload to go nothing but down).
End result is that the clean-up contractors always knew they were letting a statistically significant number of people go October 1st....mine was hoping to keep all it's new hires, as 'The Plan' involved our long-term budget going up permanently by the same amount it spiked under the Stimulus Plan. The economies failure to bounce back has call that funding into question, and so earlier this week, my company announced a 'Restructuring Plan'.
Numbers for the union folks have already been released, but while exempt staff numbers still need some finagling, site-wide losses are expected to be in the range of 2,500 jobs....close to a 25% reduction.
Personally, I don't know if I need to be worried. My boss, who went out of his way to recruit me a year ago, tells me I have nothing to worry about. While the union handles lay-offs strictly off seniority, exempt staff losses are decided by management. My boss worked two 15 hour days this week, sequestered in a room with his peers, while the basically engaged in horse trading and ranking of people at my level...when the numbers for management are released, they will draw a line, and people below the line will go away on October 13th.
I refuse to believe that the Hanford site is the only one where this type of activity is happening. I'm very curious to see what kind of unemployment rate spike we might see in October when Stimulus Babies all across the country are shown the door...