Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Texan of the Year

Since it is September and the process for a decision about the Dallas Morning News' Texan of the Year will probably begin, I suggest a nominee:The unemployed professional.
Since January of this year, many of those included in the ever-increasing ranks of Texas' unemployed residents are the so-called SOFT COLLAR workers - the degreed professionals who, after several years at many of Texas' biggest companies (such as Texas Instruments, Bell Helicopter, other tech-computer-telecom companies, etc.) have come to learn the newest three letter addition to the business lexicon - RIF (reduction in force).
In fact, it is now a verb - to be riffed means, "you're fired!"
And those job fairs, with hundreds upon hundreds of people lined up for hours seeking a precious few job openings in their respective professional fields, are being held in the unlikeliest of places - such here in Collin County, the state's wealthiest area and home of many of those companies doing the RIFfing.
As the recession strikes at Texas like a Level 3 hurricane, as the unemployment number climbs to 10 percent, the people standing in the unemployment line are NOT the usual suspects; they are the former professionals who have been purchasing the "homes inthe 300s," driving the cars from the high-end dealers and supporting the "non-Walmart" retail stores where sales are crumbling. It isn't a pretty sight and it isn't business as usual. After the housing buble burst, now it is THEIR homes being foreclosed; their lives being deconstructed; their income missing in the national economy.
When economists state the demand is not matching the supply, this is the sector not doing the demanding.
These people, the backbone and ribs and lifeblood of the American consumer-based economy, are the face of the recession.
And truly are the Texans of the Year 2009.

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