July 28, 2008
JustQuotes: Industry Layoffs – Low In Numbers, High In Significance
“From mixed-use developers like A.F. Evans to home-builders like Lennar to investment management firms like MacFarlane Partners, real estate firms active in the Bay Area have been cutting middle and upper management this year. It's not a lot of jobs -- the three companies together laid off less than 50 employees -- but for lean-and-mean developers and real estate services firms, it's significant. And in addition to scattered layoffs, companies like Cushman & Wakefield have implemented hiring freezes.”
∙ Dramatic hiring plunge a sign of industry's woes [Business Times]
First Published: July 28, 2008 6:40 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Will there be anyone left to read SocketSite in 2009? I'll still check your site if I'm out of work...It feels like the dot.bomb layoffs of 2002, except for the mortage, and there's no parties.
Posted by: RE only goes up? at July 28, 2008 9:44 AM
No problem, everyone will just go work at Google and Genentech. Oh, wait...
Posted by: Foolio at July 28, 2008 10:11 AM
Oh my god! 50 jobs from bloated mid-management; lean and mean developers my *ss. I am very small potatoes and I hired 3 carpenters in last couple of weeks. I would hire more if quality guys were out there. Plus I would hire mid-level office staff as well. No decent GC in SF isn't swamped in work.
Posted by: sparky at July 28, 2008 10:19 AM
Yes, looks like it's getting worse. Im in (well, was) the marketing biz in SF, and that is always the first line item to be cut by clients, and was reflected in my employer laying me off last week and putting 15 people out of work alongside me. After 10 years of working in the industry, the blogs are full of one company after another laying staff off, yes even in SF. I've been on the bear side of housing for years, waiting for prices to reflect economic reality and sitting on the sidelines, but this economic mess has now reached home personally and will be more devastating and far reaching than most people think. Ive been renting and saving for 5 years to buy but now am officially off the market for a home in SF, even at realistic prices. Survival will the goal over the next 2-3 years.
Posted by: Ex employed at July 28, 2008 10:26 AM
Wow, that sucks. Really sorry to hear, but just hang in there and things will turnaround for you. Hopefully you've got some emergency cash stored up.
When I got laid off back in the last bust, I had to look outside SF to land a gig, but I ended up coming through the downturn in a better position than ever. Just keep your spirits up and hopefully you'll end up finding the silver lining in this cloud. Good luck!
Posted by: Foolio at July 28, 2008 10:31 AM
hang in there ex-employed! good luck with your job search. and also, if you have a hard time finding a job in marketing think of other cities as well... there are a lot of marketing jobs in Chicago and Mpls (2 marketing powerhouses) as well that pay quite well, and COL is pretty low. obviously LA and NYC also have a ton of marketing positions as well.
I have a friend who just got a primo job working for Target (which has a great and fun marketing department) and a friend who got a pretty good job a while back for Martin Williams
Posted by: ex SF-er at July 28, 2008 10:43 AM
don't forget about all those unofficial layoffs of "undocumented" workers that are not reflected in any of the unemployment stats.
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at July 28, 2008 2:02 PM
Those companies, Lennar, etc. don't have undocumented middle management.
Posted by: sparky at July 28, 2008 2:21 PM
thanks sparky, I do understand that, I was just noting on a more general level that there have been 10's of thousands of "significant" layoffs already but they are part of a shadow economy that isn't tracked or recorded in any traditional government stats.
So while these layoffs might be more "significant" to some because they are white collar, the shear number of blue collar workers already out of work is also significant and should not be overlooked.
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at July 28, 2008 3:14 PM
Not fair to mix inputs though, particularity in regards to the construction industry jobs. I would venture there hasn't been any undocumented job loss in Bay area building.
Posted by: sparky at July 28, 2008 3:21 PM
I hope your fearless outlook proves true, and for now most competent commercial GC's are still busy. This said, I've noticed that the sub trades have gotten to be much more competitive and are looking to line up work by pricing as such which is good for owners. I’m also starting to see owners revisit previously planned capital improvement expenditures so yes; the people who pay you are starting to tighten their purse strings.
Posted by: Soma at July 28, 2008 6:41 PM
Well Soma, I'm not sure that the people who pay me are tightening there purse strings. I'm not seeing people re-thinking capital improvements. I'm seeing me turn down work because we are too busy, and I can't hire enough good employees. Which is the point of this post, and that is what I'm pointing out.
If you don't want to take my word for, take a drive through Pac Hgts.
Posted by: sparky at July 28, 2008 7:30 PM
Me: “I hope your fearless outlook proves true, and for now most competent commercial GC's are still busy.”
I was actually agreeing with you that most GC’s are busy, inflection on the “are” is lost in written form.
You sound like you work in residential construction, and high end at that. I’m stating the obvious, but regionally the downturn has hit the outlying areas of residential (think Inland Empire), and we’re seeing that high-end desirable areas like Pac Heights have been relatively unaffected (tune in to SocketSite for more!). Perhaps there is a home value correlation to these residential owners still hiring GC’s, or perhaps they just have the money to improve their homes, period.
MacFarlane let employees go who were working on a suburban master development after the plug got pulled. Probably the same case for the other two mentioned in the article, but I don’t know much about the situations or the people affected, I only hope they get on their feet soon.
Commercial- You can bet your bottom dollar REITs, pension funds, etc are revisiting planned building improvements and cutting out less-than-critical improvements. I can tell you about it first hand.
Posted by: Soma at July 28, 2008 9:14 PM
I didn't take offense to anything you said, and agree that a lot of commercial stuff won't get built. I take offense at the way this thread was titled, as if 50 jobs (not 50 in the bay area) by companies located in Miami and NY is "high in significance". If it's means anything it is that yet again housing won't get built to a degree that would keep down prices.
Agreed, of course, on the people finding new and better jobs.
Posted by: sparky at July 28, 2008 9:22 PM
"I would venture there hasn't been any undocumented job loss in Bay area building."
You obviously don't get out of SF much. You couldn't be further from the truth on that, at least in construction.
I own and operate a construction staffing company (a non-union "union hall", if you will) and it is so easy to find decent carpenters in most of the bay area right now (we are based in east bay). SF has always been a tough place to find good carpenters, but it's a whole different ballgame outside of the city, sparky.
I know of many subs who are slower this year all over the bay area - including SF. My clients are slower, generally speaking, and not hiring as much as well.
Posted by: dg at July 29, 2008 12:35 AM
Then they should commute to the city, half of my employees do.
Posted by: sparky at July 29, 2008 7:43 AM
I'm in SF and two years ago I couldn't get a contractor to return my calls. Over the past nine months they have been calling me to see if I need anything done.
Posted by: Anna at July 29, 2008 10:46 AM