More Economic Bad News

Likely many already know this, but Cessna is informing employees of yet more layoffs. This will, I believe, make Cessna’s layoff numbers over 4300.

Given the dependency of the local economy on aircraft manufacturing, this just adds to the problems currently faced in Wichita. I’m not as cheery as others concerning this; I don’t think that “come the recovery”, all will be well in Wichita with reference to the aircraft makers. There are other concerns that will impact Wichita’s traditional industrial base, not the least of which is the expected rise in the cost of petroleum products.

An interesting sidelight: Bombardier announced the sale of 20 aircraft this morning. These aircraft, however, as I recall will be totally built in Canada, so no joy in Wichita.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “More Economic Bad News

  1. I wonder how the Cessna plant in Independence Ks has been affected. Guess I could look for myself, huh?

  2. lilacluvr

    I’m not that familiar with the aviation industry but Wichita has been the focal point for many, many years haven’t they? Have we ever seen anything like this before?

    I know there are cycles of layoffs in aviation but most jobs have come back in the past, haven’t they?

    Are we seeing the normal cycle of layoffs or is it something bigger? Is it the culmination of alot of outsourcing or is it because they aren’t selling planes now due to the economy?

    Whatever the reasons, we are faced with the prospect of alot of unemployed workers and that is not good.

  3. It has been my impression that in the past few cycles at least that when the comeback occurs, there are fewer jobs than before.

    I think and believe that this is something more than the normal layoff cycle. Part of it is the normal cycle; but there is something more, which I cannot identify, that seems to be involved. There are fewer sales, fewer orders, and deferral of orders due to the economy. I just don’t see the levels of orders and sales returning.

  4. lilacluvr

    So, is it similiar to the automobile industry? Will the future of aviation be centered somewhere outside of the US?

    I’ve heard people say that we have changed from a manufacturing economy to a service oriented economy and that is not good.

    When I think about my own childhood, I remember the old American companies that made goods and they all seemed like they would be around forever. But in the past two decades, I’ve noticed fewer and fewer American companies are even in business anymore.

    Seems everything is foreign made – even some of the auto plants in America are foreign owned.

    Is this the future of America or do you think we change things? I worry about my own kids and grand-daughter, what will their future hold for them?

    If we are just a service economy, that keeps us vulnerable to everyone -doesn’t it? And if our economy does not rebound, it just makes us a debtor nation even more and our standing in the world will be diminished even more – don’t you think?

  5. lilacluvr

    correction: do you think we can change things?

  6. Don’t know, lilac, if we can change things or not; I’m ambivalent on that. If we can change things, it will not be without pain, and it will take time.

    The loss of industrial jobs in the U.S. has been occurring for four decades now; the acceleration in the rate of loss over the past twenty years or so, especially over the past ten years, is what has made more of us aware.

    IF we can change things, it will, IMO, need to be in new industry, not the traditional industries with which we are acquainted. There are some signs of this change, such as the boutique steel mills (manufacture of specialized steels) replacing the steel mills of old. Not as many folks as before are employed in the production of steel, but there are more employed in these specialized areas than were employed generally in the production of general steel five years ago, IIRC.

    Clean energy is a fertile ground, but other countries seem to be moving ahead of us with that. I’m sure other examples exist, but are not readily coming to mind at present.

    To get there will require a massive readjustment in attitudes and a reorganization of our traditional methods, as well as a hard look at the educational process. The Carnegie model, adopted in the late 1920s and 1930s, which still exists in most schools, did an excellent job in “educating” workers for assembly line jobs, but wasn’t so good at training students in areas such as critical thinking, improvisation, being prepared to keep learning post high school graduation for a few examples. Assembly line work required workers to perform jobs in a rote manner, thus the rote method of classroom instruction. As more and more rote tasks are performed by robots, to a higher degree of precision than can be accomplished most of the time by humans, there are fewer jobs for humans on an assembly line. Continuing to provide education in a rote manner thus does nothing to prepare the students for lives where doing the same thing repetitively is not a requirement.

    BTW, sorry for the late (and overly lengthy) response.

  7. A trivial example of what I mean by some of the above.

    We all had to memorize multiplications tables in school (well, some of us did). So, dutifully we “learned” such things as 9 times 6 is 54, for example. So, what good does that knowledge do to someone presented with the real world problem of how many square feet of carpeting is required to cover the floor in a room in the shape of a regular rectangle which is 9 feet long by 6 feet wide?

    Well, those who took geometry will say, hey, there, 6176, that’s simple; we need to find the area of the floor; since it is a regular rectangle, we need to multiply the length by the width, and thus 54 square feet of carpet is needed. Those who so respond are correct; that is exactly what should be done. But did learning that 9 times 6 equals 54 answer the question by itself? No, it did not; rather, to solve the problem, one had to think about what was required (find the area of the rectangle) and then apply the rote learning.

    Hope this makes some sense.

  8. Darn it; I always leave something out.

    In the latter post I made today, I omitted something. Thus, the first sentence in the third paragraph therein should have read “Well, those who took geometry (which, as recently as my high school days in the middle to late 1960s was not required to be taken to graduate from high school) . . . .”

    Sorry for that omission.

    • lilacluvr

      I graduated from high school in 1971 and not even 1 science credit was required.

      That changed the very next year, but technically the kids in my 1971 class were not required to have a single science credit and there were some that took that route – sad to say.

      • When I graduated from high school in 1968, the school district from which I graduated required one high school math credit, satisfied by taking “General Math”; and one high school science credit, satisfied by taking “General Science”. There were four English credits required, one credit in U.S. History, a credit in Government, and one in Physical Education. I don’t recall the total credit hours required to graduate, but it seems to me it was 24.

        Those, who as I was, were college bound were expected to complete four years of Math, three years of Science, two years of foreign language along with the other mandatory credits I listed earlier. We didn’t have to do so to graduate; but it was stressed that these additional classes needed to be taken for appropriate preparation for college.

  9. lilacluvr

    Thanks for your valued input. So, do you think Obama is on target when he wants to invest in education, especially science and math?

    I work in the health care field and the technology we see today was not even thought of when my husband and I started 30 years ago. The new technology takes educated minds to maintain and to implement the ever-changing technology.

    I know the old manufacturing jobs will never return but I wonder if Americans are ready to really change their lives and do what is necessary to prepare for the future?

    As for the current education system, I have alot of problems with the NCLB because it seemed that it was only getting children to memorize data for testing and real learning was put aside? That, and the fact Bush never sent the funding to implement the NCLB – but that is another issue. But I suspect the whole NCLB issue was to undercut public education in favor of private faith-based schools to get their hands on all that government money without strings attached.

    One thing I have noticed over the last two decades, our children have no problem with their self-esteem. That focus seemed to have been promoted at the expense of learning also. How many young adults working today can’t make change? But they sure do feel good about themselves, dont’ they?

  10. Yes, I think Mr. Obama is on target; however, the education being invested in must be different than that which has existed and in many places continues to exist.

    The technology change you mention is present as well in my profession. It is not as dramatic, to be sure, but exists nonetheless.

    On Americans being ready to change their lives? I’m not too hopeful about this. The age group occupied by the #2 daughter seems to be more elastic than even the cohort containing the #1 daughter, who is some six years older.

    The “Self Esteem” issue; I consider most of that which has occurred to be fool’s gold. What will generate real self esteem, in my estimation, is for the students to be presented with difficult curricula and provided the tools to be successful within it. I see the sense of real accomplishment in the young folks with whom I deal at NEMHS, and the great majority of them have high self esteem without the artificial “feel good” stuff that seems to have taken hold in other places. I’m sure the same may be said for those in the IB program at East as well.

    NCLB is flawed in its current implementation, to be sure. The flaw you note, rote memorization, is due to the way the states are allowed to design the assessments given. The early Kansas State Assessments (which, as part of QPA were administered well before anyone had dreamt of NCLB) at the high school level were designed to test abilities to reason, solve problems, etc., rather than the ability to regurgitate memorized “stuff”. These underwent significant revision once NCLB hit, and due to the requirements for reporting scores, etc., have been “dumbed down” so they may be scored more quickly and easily. While the assessments are, at the high school level, still challenging for many students, they are really not a very useful measure of educational accomplishment. This has resulted in even more assessments being given to try to measure educational accomplishment, e.g., the administration of the PSAT to each sophomore in USD 259, the scores of which are used to not only identify potential National Merit Semifinalists (when taken again in the Junior year) but also to identify areas of educational weaknesses to be addressed. So, another half-day of “teaching time” is lost so these assessments may be administered to gain information which, hopefully, might be obtained from redesigned state assessments administered as a part of NCLB.