Keep Your Job? Work For Free.

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With unemployment on the rise, more and more workers are taking pay cuts in exchange for keeping their jobs. Some are even working for free.

In an effort to cut costs and show work-place solidarity, British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh is planning to work the entire month of July with no pay. There’s only one glitch in his plan for generating some positive public relations. He forgot to tell his wife.

Walsh says because he neglected to tell her about the plan to turn down his July paycheck, she wasn’t too happy when she first read about it in a London paper.

Walsh enjoys an annual salary of $1.2 million U-S dollars, and is hoping his lower salary encourages employees to also cut costs. This comes after 2,500 employees at the airline have already lost their jobs.  read more »

Restaurant Survival

In todays weak economy, consumers are cutting back on frills such as eating out. Not good news for restaurants hoping to fill their tables.

At the recent Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival sponsored by American Express I talked with Roy Yamaguchi, Head Chef and Founder of Roy's popular restaurant group about how he views the recession. Yamaguchi says its all about location.

"For us we have locations in a lot of different cities so some of the cities of course have taken a bigger hit than others. For instance in Honolulu our restaurants are still doing quite well but on Maui with the failure of two airlines and the lack of tourism on that island our business is tremendously down."  read more »

Beware the Dead Cat Bounce


Perhaps you’ve been hearing this very graphic Wall Street trader term bandied about during these tumultuous times. It’s actually been used for decades as a warning to investors that buying into temporary rallies during bear markets can be wealth-threatening.

The other well-worn phrase is “Don’t catch a falling knife”. That refers to watching your favorite stock taking a plunge, and buying more in the often mistaken belief that the fall is temporary.

Actually I think these terms are perfect warning signs right now. After a brief four day rally some Wall Street pundits are predicting the bottom has been reached, and the markets will soon come roaring back. I am an insufferable optimist, and wish I could share their enthusiasm. It’s just that facts get in the way.  read more »

Cookies, Candy and Toys No Longer Recession-Proof

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Now We Really Are In Trouble.

Every day you hear about home and stock prices falling still further. Jobs are vanishing as fast as your retirement money. In California, and most other states, you will be paying even higher taxes for far fewer services.

But 3 different business news reports out today prove just how dramatically Wall Street’s decline is changing traditional buying habits on Main Street.  read more »

Get Ready for More Layoffs


That light at the end of our dark economic tunnel is a train. And it could roll over you this year.

Every day headlines scream the latest bad news about yet another company announcing massive layoffs. Household names such as Boeing, Pfizer, Home Depot, United Airlines, and hundreds of financial institutions are sending out pink slips by the millions. (No, that is not a misprint).

According to Yahoo News, the Labor Department reports that 21,137 mass layoffs took place last year, up from 15,493 in 2007. That's the highest annual total since 2001, the last time the economy was in recession, and the second-highest since the department began tracking mass layoffs in 1995.  read more »

Signs of the Times

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I read this very interesting summary provided by Reuters, documenting the times we live in. Reuters points out that, “The global recession manifests itself in big ways and small: most gloomy, some quirky and many reflecting the inventive human spirit.”

Here is Reuters look at some signs of the times.

* The Church of England published two new prayers, comforting people who lost their jobs and those still in work after a round of cuts. "Hear me as I cry out in confusion, help me to think clearly, and calm my soul," says the "Prayer on being made redundant." The "Prayer for those remaining in the workplace" focuses on guilt and increased workload: "In the midst of this uncertainty, help me to keep going: to work to the best of my ability, taking each day at a time."  read more »

Obama Not Optimistic

With the election behind him, President-elect Obama can afford to be brutally frank with the American public. And he was just that on Sunday.

Appearing on “Meet the Press” on NBC, and at a later news conference, Mr. Obama said the economy will get worse before it gets better. To temper the harsh message, he pledged a recovery plan “equal to the task”, including a large economic stimulus plan and help for homeowners facing imminent foreclosures.

"We've got to provide a blood infusion to the patient right now to make sure that the patient is stabilized. And that means that we can't worry short term about the deficit. We've got to make sure that the economic stimulus plan is large enough to get the economy moving," he said.  read more »

Recession Reality

Here’s a news flash. We’re officially heading toward a recession, a scary term used to describe an economy whose gross domestic product declines for two straight quarters. Yesterday the government reported the world’s largest economy shrank at a 0.3 percent annual rate this past quarter, the sharpest contraction in seven years. If the U-S economy posts a second consecutive negative growth rate when this current quarter ends that will make two in a row, so experts can then officially declare the country in recession.  read more »

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