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The Bush/Greenspan housing recession/depression has already sent a lot of real estate agents into other lines of sales and a lot of new-home builders/workers into remodeling kitchens and bathrooms.

But it has also affected thousands of manufacturing workers.

Here (around Albany, NY), Owens Corning announced yesterday that it will be laying off 140-160 of its 360 workers at its Selkirk insulation plant over the next two months.

The news is worse for workers at Georgia-Pacific's plywood plant in Logansburg, LA -- 280 of them were laid off without notice this morning.

Details about just two corners, in just one day, of the housing crash, below.  

An Owens Corning spokesman in the story linked to above cites:

continued forecasts for prolonged weakness in demand for building materials.


The line (one of two) is expected to remain curtailed throughout 2008, dependent on market conditions. The curtailment is part of Owens Corning's strategy to ensure that all capacity is aligned with market demand.

I heard an Owens Corning spokesman, maybe the same guy, on the radio today, blaming the roughly 50 percent drop on housing starts for the roughly 50 percent layoff in Selkirk.

One can hardly blame the company, which emerged from bankruptcy last year, for being very careful about a very uncertain near-term outlook for building materials like insulation.

At least the Owens Corning unfortunates were not laid off immediately, like the Georgia-Pacific workers.

Approximately 280 employees of Georgia-Pacific’s plywood mill are without jobs today after company officials unexpectedly announced a shutdown this morning.

A combination of factors led to the decision, including market conditions resulting from housing starts at the lowest level in more than 20 years and the expense required for necessary improvements at the facility.

Manufacturing operations have ceased and existing inventory will be shipped over the next few weeks. Employees will be eligible for 60 days of pay and benefits from Georgia-Pacific, after which they will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Building materials like insulation and plywood are mostly manufactured here, not in China, from raw materials that also are mostly domestic-derived.

These are good jobs, even in Louisiana, and losing them is a personal tragedy/challenge for 400-plus American skilled manufacturing workers.

Just today.

Unfortunately, even though these 400-plus jobs were not sent to China or Mexico, they might as well have been.

Because the Bush/Greenspan housing recession/depression has probably just begun.  

Originally posted to devtob on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 04:28 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (26+ / 0-)

    It will be a lean Christmas for these 400-plus families, and millions of others affected by the Bush/Greenspan housing recession/depression.

    Which will inevitably ripple out to cause problems for retail and other mass consumer-reliant industries, and the stock market, and the dollar.

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 04:31:12 PM PDT

  •  I am sorry to hear this (7+ / 0-)

    but here in California, the building rates are simply unsustainable unless we want to pave over all of our farm land.

    That said, I foresee a big building surge in Southern California as a passel of high end housing needs to be replaced, rebuilt and repaired.

    There are bagels in the fridge

    by Sychotic1 on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 04:35:23 PM PDT

  •  Usury may lead to profits at Countrywide (6+ / 0-)

    but in the end, everyone suffers because of foreclosures and job loss.

  •  I'd guess the plywood jobs are gone (3+ / 0-)

    I don't know how much plywood we import - probably some from Canada - but it'll probably increase. We import OSB (oriented strand board - 'chip board'), which is increasingly used as a plywood substitute, from Canada and Asia. We import a lot of Canadian lumber, and a lot of Chinese wood products (Wal-Mart, Target, Ikea, etc.)

    British Columbia is in the middle of a logging/lumber boom, due to pine beetle epidemics killing trees - some of that is going into plywood. A lot of illegally logged timber is funneled through Chinese mills from all over Asia, Russia, and even Africa.

    In the US, imports of wood products are increasing, while timber harvests on public lands are down substantially (more than 80%) and harvests of private lands (57% of forest land not reserved) are up slightly, but prices are poor - about $200 a truckload to the landowner in E WA (roughly 1700 cu ft - 14 cords) for Douglas fir going to plywood factories. That's around 10% of what it'd be worth as firewood.

    There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

    by badger on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 05:49:07 PM PDT

    •  interesting comment. why are timber harvests on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, devtob

      US public lands down? Is it better enforcement? Or is it all used up now? What's up?

      •  Probably lots of reasons (3+ / 0-)

        I looked up the figure (from the 2002 Forest Inventory) and harvesting on National Forests is down 84% from 1986 to 2002. The inventory doesn't go into causes for the most part. If there's been an increase since 2002, I doubt it's very large.

        Some land has been withdrawn for wilderness, national monuments, etc; some has been off limits under the Endangered Species Act (old growth), or put into things like the "Late Successional Reserves" (almost old growth) category; some logging has been blocked by litigation due to environmental concerns (the NF above me is in that category); some is from a shift to more hardwoods, which are more abundant on private lands - even in WA, red alder is more in demand on the coast than Douglas fir. The Forest Service officially (does not apply in all states or regions in reality) switched from timber management to ecosystem management in 1992. The Northwest Forest Plan was implemented in the 1990s, as well as riparian protections and other laws, like Roadless Areas. In addition, salvage sales (burned over areas) have declined.

        In addition there's price competition from Canadian softwood and other foreign sources, a decline in US wood product manufacturing (furniture mfg has just about disappeared in WI, probably about the same in NC), and a trend to use of more engineered wood products in construction (laminated beams, plywood, OSB, light trusses). I watched a bank go up last year. It was all wood-framed, with almost nothing bigger than a 2x4 in solid, sawn lumber, all OSB instead of plywood. Housing is similar.

        The one thing that probably isn't a cause is available timber (maybe in some specific instances, but not overall), because both total volume of standing timber and timber acreages have increased in recent years. That would seem to make fire a non-factor too. Harvesting on non-industrial private lands (land not owned by timber companies) has increased.

        How those rank probably depends on the bias of who you talk to. I don't have the anti-logging bias of some environmental groups, or the pro-logging bias of timber companies and some logging communities, and I also don't have any solid information on how the causes rank.

        There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

        by badger on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 07:11:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Retail firewood (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, RonRaunikar

      was about $150 a cord in upstate NY last winter.

      It will be probably more this winter, with heating oil up 50 percent or so from a year ago.

      The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

      by devtob on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 06:04:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's about that here in WA (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I cut firewood on my own property (actually salvage a lot from down trees or slash piles), but I think that's what it goes for here. Or for $10 or $20 you can get a firewood permit from the Forest Service and cut your own. You need a big truck to haul much though - a cord is 2-3 tons depending on moisture content.

        The price seems to have been remarkably flat - the last time I bought firewood was in WI around 1985, and I paid about $150 a cord for oak, cut, split and delivered.

        You can get a really cool firewood processor for about $15,000. You feed in logs and it spits out stovewood lengths already split. My wife won't let me buy one though (and I actually love cutting and splitting).

        There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

        by badger on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 07:22:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cutting and splitting enough wood to heat a house (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is also great outdoor exercise.

          As the proverb says, it warms you twice.

          The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

          by devtob on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 07:28:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Much more than twice (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It warms me up just looking at two cords split and in the woodshed too.

            And more fun than joining a health club (cue The Lumberjack Song).

            Plus we had 6 days without power, but not without heat, last winter.

            There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

            by badger on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 07:51:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  They are still building down here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in Florida because it still makes sense to get $250,000 for a house built on converted palmetto scrub land.

    It's not a nice as $350,000, but there is still plenty of profit to be made.

    Sell a house in New Jersey for $800,000, buy a $250,000 house and live off the investment income in the Florida sunshine.

    The taxes would be about $3,000 a year. Watch out for special taxes that developers use to pay for roads and then have the new homeowners pay in addition to the house price. These special taxes can run to $2,000 a year.

    •  And the homeowner's insurance, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      which will be considerably more than in New Jersey, or almost anywhere else.

      But, on the plus side, the more people from the blue Northeast who move to Florida, the more purple Florida will become politically.

      Back to the diary topic, houses are still being built, around here, in Florida, and all over the county.

      Just half as many as last year.

      And any industry that down by 50 percent year-to-year is in recession/depression, as 400-plus Owens Corning and Georgia-Pacific workers found out today.

      The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

      by devtob on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 07:08:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's happening in NYC too - layoffs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Reported in NYC today - all city agencies under a hiring freeze, and cuts ordered.

    The cause?  Tax shortfalls - due to a drastic recent drop-off in large commercial real estate sales.

    Not to mention the Merrill Lynch meltdown.

    Isolated, contained calamities?  Or a spreading disaster?

    •  The housing recession/depressiosn (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      will negatively affect local government budgets everywhere.

      Here in NY, we'll get a double whammy, as subprime/housing-related losses will severely limit what would otherwise be billions in Wall Street/investment bank bonuses, and the related state income tax revenue.

      Spitzer, Silver and Bruno have their work cut out for them in next year's state budget; and it is well past time that they begin to work together to try to resolve a crisis that will approach the almost-bankruptcy of NYC in the 1970s.

      The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

      by devtob on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 07:17:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  uh, dude? (0+ / 0-)

    the georgia-pacific folks got 60 days pay.

    being out of work is a nasty business, but making it sound like GP (which believe me, is not a company i care to be defending) just slammed the door in their faces ("laid off without notice") isn't really accurate.

    I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 07:54:05 PM PDT

    •  All I know was what's in the paper. (0+ / 0-)

      which was based (like too many such stories) on a company press release.

      The Georgia-Pacific workers were laid off today, without notice, and they are "eligible for 60 days of pay and benefits."

      For those who are "eligible," that carries them through Christmas.

      Beyond then, most of them will be in trouble.


      The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

      by devtob on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 08:06:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  consider the contrast you (0+ / 0-)

        draw with the owens-corning workers, who will be laid off gradually over 2 months, but will presumably not receive an additional 60 days' pay after that.

        as far as i can tell, the G-P workers have it better, not worse, than the O-C workers. after all, they don't actually have to keep working while receiving their severance, which gives them time and resources to find new work -- even relocate if they have to.

        I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

        by UntimelyRippd on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 08:14:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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