I work in the housing industry here in Central Florida. My company builds modular apartments that we then own and operate. For those that are following industry trends, it'* known that this year housing is suffering through a market correction. This largely due to a real estate bubble created by all the investors that pulled their money out of a poorly performing stock market and then proceeded to buy properties on speculation.
This drove land and housing prices through the roof with almost 100% gains in less than two years down here. Useable multi-family properties have risen from @ $30,000/acre to about $125,000/acre. Then add on doubled real estate taxes, quadrupled impact fees, tripled insurance rates, doubled building material costs, increasingly difficult development regulation hurdles, and a new regulation requiring we install sprinkler systems in all units and we have found it much harder to find and develop properties and still be able to charge rents that people can afford.
OK, so that means that yesterday, after another piece of property failed to pass all the stringent requirements for development approval, the Owner (my boss) told me to lay off six people and decrease production so that we could keep the doors open for the next 6 months. This will buy us time to get another project approval and hopefully bring back the workers I had to lay off today.
For those that have never been on this side of the desk during a lay-off I want to tell you how difficult this was for me. Both mentally and emotionally. I didn't sleep at all last night and, as I was shaking the hands of each of the unfortunate six an wishing them well, I had to focus to remain composed.
With the exception of one person, each of these folks were fine people and good workers. I know them all personally and the only thing they had going against them was the unfortunate fact that they were the most recently employed.
The owner went out of his way to make sure that each got a small severence to help out and we gave each any vacation time earned, even if their anniversary date was not yet here, but that doesn't make it any easier, really.
This is not something that is ever easy, not for any manager who is really a manager, IMO.
Sorry for the tedious and maudlin dissertation, but I needed to spill this a little and figured that you guys would understand, or at the very worst ignore the thread. That'* fine too.
Mike: 1997 SE w/ 183K, aka White Horse
, Gutted Airbox w/K&N, drilled 180* t-stat, tint all around, clear corners w/SilverStars, "PONTIAC" light up tail, PEMs, NGK TR55s