Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Manufacturing down, manufacturing up

My company processes parts for heavy equipment. Much of this is for the ag industry; winter is a slow month for that market. Another significant part of our workload is (was?) automotive parts - that segment of our business has dropped by more than half in the past two years, and the decline has accelerated in the past few months. (Which makes me cynical about the automotive bailout - the "automotive-related jobs" at my company have already been hit, I'm not convinced keeping the big three afloat would actually trickle down to us).

With major business sources down, and other customers slowing with the economy, we're spending more time wiping counters and mopping floors instead of processing parts. The company laid off six people last week, out of sixty employees. If we get down to thirty employees, I'm told, I'll go to the night shift. It's reassuring to know I'd still have a job at that point. But unsettling that the company is even contemplating cuts that big.

In the midst of this, a big jump in gun parts. Apparently gun sales are way up. To the point I can't even contact those customers: I tried unsuccessfully for two days to call one with a question about processing. (I ended up faxing my question.) Many of the orders are "big rush".

I've been conflicted for years on making part of my living from gun manufacture. At this point, however, it's sure nice to have at least one area of business with a good outlook.

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