“We are really feeling it. It is very tough in automotive,” said David Rosenberg. While Ford, GM and Chrysler continue to post massive losses, and more white collar workers in the automotive industry – and its satellite suppliers – are joining their blue collar counterparts in the unemployment lines. To those in the queue, it feels like there are few automotive job prospects left available to them.
“I was laid off from my position in April,” Rosenberg recalled, “but during the first couple of weeks afterwards, I really couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t process much information because I was still in shock.” Rosenberg‘s situation looked dire. The total number of white-collar positions cut by the Big Three U.S. automakers in 2008 alone is in excess of 8,400. And several large suppliers are being compelled to make lay offs in the wake of the ever-increasing financial crisis facing the automobile manufacturing industry.
Unable to relocate with a mortgage and a new child
Rosenberg worked for one of those suppliers, Century Tube, in his hometown of Madison, Ind. Madison is a small town in the south of the state near the Kentucky border. It has maintained its historic charm and has been recognized as “The Prettiest Small Town in the Midwest” by Ladies Home Journal. It has a population of a little over 12,000, and the estimated household income is $38,500. It is not an industrial or business hub. Now out of work, it seemed there were few local job offerings available to him. “I own a house there. In this economy, how in the world could I afford to try and sell my house to move to someplace else?” And to add to his worries, at the time he had been laid off, he had a two-month-old baby. “It was a nightmare situation,” Rosenberg said.