Timesizing® Associates

dooms du jour, Feb/2000
[Commentary] ©2000 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Sq, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080


2/29/2000 tue
1 downsizing reported
• 3.7% staff cut (130 jobs) as Navigant International travel consulting cuts morale & market along with costs, instead of 3.7% hours&pay cut (1½ hr/wk) & everyone keeps working & travelling
+ 13 downsizing-inducing takeovers reported, totaling $52.43B + $undisclosed
+ omens: • infant deathrate higher in poorer areas of Brooklyn, NY
• 1000s in Massachusetts lack resources for basic literacy
vs. glimmers of hope: • fed govt whacks corporate tax shelters
• McCain whacks religious right

2/27-28/2000
weekend roundup per NY Times & Bos Globe:
• 6 downsizings this past week - 42,725 jobcuts
• 43 takeovers reported this past week (worth $49.14B+)
• 2 bankruptcies mentioned (T,W) - Taesa & Service Merchandise
vs. 0 UPsizings reported (0 new jobs) & 1 UNtakeover ($??)
<< YTD:  117 dnsz (132,733+  jobcuts) + 365 takov ($697.93B+) vs. 16 upsz (18,317+=14%) + 17 untak ($6.15B+) >>
+ weekend omen: • tons of education in Massachusetts but 'quiet crisis' in training
+ Features: • Timesizing.com challenges the Kennedy name & $3.6m warchest in Y2K Senate race
• Local 76, CEP, Powell River papermill added to working models
• goodnews split in 3:  regular, high test & transition
• website reactions listed
• opus errata online

2/26/2000 sat (re fri biz)
- "Roarin' 20s revisited" roar on -
2 more downsizings reported, totalling 175 jobs: 
• 105 jobs vanish as TI Group Auto Systems closes factory in Georgia
• 70 American jobs disappear as Lenox Inc. moves production overseas from Rhode Is.
+ 5 more takeovers reported, totaling $175m + $undisclosed
+ "bad, but..." another website incapacitated by hackers (but this time the FBI's)
vs. "good, but..." • high GDP growth (but doesn't substract for record homelessness & prisons)
• Lehman Bros. pays its chief $17m in '99 (but that just adds $15-16m to America's hoarded $trillions while millions with low pay need food stamps)

2/25/2000 fri
2 downsizings reported, totalling 12,750 jobs: 
• 12,500 jobs to go as RWE overreacts to 19% profit drop & consolidation with new takeover target, instead of 19% workweek cut (to four 8.1-hr days), adjusting workloads & keeping everyone employed
• 225 jobs 'relocated' as Ford moves luxury brands from NJ to Cal.,
instead of cutting hours and keeping everyone together
+ 5 takeovers reported, totaling $509m + $undisclosed
+ omens - empty Bangkok bldgs belie IMF's "crisis over"
vs. glimmers of hope: • France leads in separation of church & state, philosophy-based public debate
• US orders suspension of gun sales into Canada at latter's request

2/24/2000 thu
no downsizings reported
but 1 bankruptcy mentioned - Babcock & Wilcox
(engineering) files Ch. 11, citing higher asbestos-exposure claims
+ 12 downsizing-inducing takeovers reported, totaling $6.86B + $undisclosed
+ omens - Greenspan has the wealth effect exactly backwards
+ prisonwatch - guards firing on fighting but unarmed prisoners kill one & wound 12 as "a matter of saving life"
vs. glimmers of hope, 2 bullies get their come-uppance:
• US exporters to get handicapped (taxed) same as everyone else
• big twin credit cards get handicapped in court

2/23/2000 wed
2 downsizings reported, totalling 29,800 lost jobs: 
• 10% workforce cut (25,000 jobs) as Unilever overreacts in response to 5% less profit, instead of cutting their workweek 10% (to 36 hrs/wk), adjusting workloads & keeping everyone employed, & shopping
• 30% staff cut (4800 jobs) as Service Merchandise proceeds with its bankruptcy reorg, instead of cutting hours 30% (to four 7-hr days) & keeping everyone together, working & spending
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - Service Merchandise with $1.29B debt (see above)
+ 17 takeovers reported, totaling $24.74B + $undisclosed
+ omens:  • Dow's 12% decline since Jan. 14 qualifies as official
"correction" (i.e., over 10%) & constitutes warning re Nasdaq
vs. glimmers of hope: • DaimlerChrysler shows 72-mpg test vehicle
• 1 UNtakeover - At Home Corp. spins off Work.com to form joint venture with Dow Jones

2/22/2000 tue
no downsizings reported
but 4 downsizing-inducing takeovers reported, totaling $16.85B + $undisclosed
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - Mexico's 3rd-largest airline, Taesa (there goes competition)
vs. glimmers of hope: • Britain shies away from the euro, & maybe even the EC
• 1 discouraged takeover (but probably not UNdone) - EC antitrust frowns on $130B Sprint-MCI merger

2/20-21/2000
weekend roundup per NY Times & Bos Globe:
• 7 downsizings this past week - 4,622 jobcuts +unspecified
• 42 takeovers reported this past week (worth $22.47B+)
• 4 bankruptcies mentioned (T,W,Th,F) - Iridium again,
Charter Behavioral, Just for Feet, This End Up furniture
vs. 4 UPsizings reported (8167+ new jobs) & 5 UNtakeovers ($??)
<< YTD totals:  74 dnsz (90,608+  jobcuts) + 322 takov ($648.79B+) vs. 16 upsz (18,317+=20%) + 16 untak ($6.15B+) >>
+ 1 weekend omen: • 60-70 hr weeks now common in high tech (& considered "efficient"?!?)
• the downside of the upside/Distortions of Wealth Dept. - the children of the rich lack focus/direction/drive in their pointless & bored lives (sounds like some welfare kids we know = the sameness of the opposite extremes?)
vs. glimmers of hope
: • the upside of the downside - Vt. hiker Guy Waterman designs an inspiring suicide
+ Features: • Timesizing.com challenges Ted Kennedy in Y2K Senate race
• Local 76, CEP, Powell River papermill added to working models
• goodnews split in 3:  regular, high test & transition
• website reactions listed
• opus errata online

2/19/2k sat (re fri biz)
3 downsizings reported, totalling 1671 lost jobs: 
• 35% workforce cut (1500 jobs) as Ford/Europe cuts its best customers in response to 24% less sales than production, instead of cutting their workweek 24% (to five 6-hr days), adjusting workloads & keeping everyone together, employed, & shopping
• 60% staff cut (100 jobs) as Cross pens moves production from Ireland to R.I., instead of cutting hours 60% (to four 4-hr days) & keeping everyone working & spending
• 10% cut (71 people) as Frontier Insurance demoralizes its HQ town instead of trimming 10% of hours & pay, & keeping everybody employed & spending near-normally
+ 3 takeovers reported, totaling $505m + $undisclosed
+ omens:  • federal facilities bigger water polluters than private sector
• leached heavy metals make cyanide disaster worst since Chernobyl
vs. glimmers of hope: • megadam in China continues, but megadam in Chile halted, at least for now
• 2 social reformers propose shift from theory to successful experience

2/18/2k fri
2 downsizings reported, totalling 510 lost jobs: 
• 1% workforce cut (460 jobs) as Saks dept.store closes a distribution ctr in Minn. &
consolidates, instead of doing a 1% workweek cut (24 mins/wk), adjusting
workloads & keeping everyone together, employed, & shopping
• 50 jobs lost as Children's Hospital abreacts to shorter stays & Medicaid cuts,
instead of trimming hours & keeping everyone working
+ 4 takeovers reported, totaling $1.61B + $$undisclosed
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - TEU Holdings (= 'This End Up' furniture)
+ omens:  • citing income mobility to offset income inequality doesn't wash
• inequality state to state  • inequality in kindergarten  • FBI's Web cases quadruple
vs. glimmers of hope: • tech speculators tune out Greenspan's threat to raise rates
• FTC chief claims he's getting tough on mergers
• miser Bell Atlantic finally cracks open stock bonanza for retirees
• 1 UPsizing - arbit'r forces UPS to create 2k jobs, so tests 4 retail stores
• 2 UNtakeovers - Ucar retains graphite unit, and Pricewaterhouse splits up

2/17/2k thu
- what good is being competitive when UNcompetitive Europeans
have SIX-week vacations to our TWO
and 35-hour workweeks to our 60 (1/3 unpaid)?
- better to 'lose' like Europeans than 'win' like slaves...

omens:  • another US industry treating overtime laws as a joke
• faulty nuke had earlier problems (pls. phase them all OUT a.s.a.p.)
• guilty partners describe network transferring $$billions out of Russia
+ 1 downsizing reported - 7% workforce cut (441 jobs) as Bell & Howell
UNconsolidates into 2 companies & STILL downsizes, instead of 7% workweek cut,
cross-training, spreading the work & keeping everyone working & spending
+ 8 takeovers reported, totaling $1.69B + $$undisclosed
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - Just for [flat] Feet
vs. glimmers of hope: • how deluded are we Americans?...
Danish employees are bargaining for SIXTH week of vacation!

• US church leaders want poverty back on bipartisan national agenda
• 1 UNtakeover - Federal-Mogul sees the light & drops plan to sell good units

2/16/2k wed
9 takeovers reported, totaling $1.747B + $$undisclosed
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - Charter Behavioral poised to file
+ omens - study shows isolating, workoholizing effects of Internet
+ 1 downsizing reported - 2000+ jobs lost as Air Canada consolidates with
Canadian Airlines, instead of cutting hours and keeping everyone on board
vs. glimmers of hope:
• Clinton considers setting aside 400,000 Calif. acres to protect giant sequoias
• 3 UPsizings, totaling 6167 new jobs - Mohegan Sun 4000, Mpower 1667, Lucent 500

2/15/2k tue
- the humdrum daily beat of a self-sedating economy in cardiac infarction -
no downsizings reported
but 16 layoff-inducing takeovers reported, totaling $16.42B + $$undisclosed
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - broke Iridium owes bondholders $1.45B
+ omens:  • Romania won't compensate neighors for cyanide spill
• AOL drops lobbying efforts to get open access in Massachusetts
vs. glimmers of hope:
• US just wants to be NEAR Eros - spacecraft into orbit on Valentine's Day
• LA poll shows negative campaign advertising hurts sponsor, helps target
• homeowner who lost house on humungus $58 screwup gets it back
• sales surge (but what about seasonality and consumer debt??)
• 2 UNtakeovers - Murakami-Shoei not, McCaw-Iridium not

2/13-14/2000
weekend roundup per NY Times & Bos Globe:
• 8 downsizings this past week -
33,131 jobcuts +unspecified = this year's new high
• 59 takeovers reported this past week (worth new record $212.48B)
• 1 bankruptcy mention (Tue) - Filene's Basement closes Aisle-3 unit
vs. 3 UPsizings reported (450+ new jobs) & 3 UNtakeovers ($250m+)
<< YTD totals:  67 dnsz (85,986+  jobcuts) + 280 takov ($626.32B+) vs. 12 upsz (10,150+=12%) + 11 untak ($6.15B+) >>
2 weekend takeovers, totaling $500m + $?
+ 2 weekend omens: • working better or just harder?
• how much is 'my share' - $1m? $1 'hunge'? when can I relax?
vs. glimmers of hope
: • NYT reader applauds French teen birthcontrol initiative
• term limits bring fresh ideas, more participation, less corruption to 18 state legislatures
• colleague Kate finally receives her '15 minutes of fame' (on Boston Globe op ed page)
+ New Features: • Timesizing.com challenges Ted Kennedy in Y2K Senate race
• Local 76, CEP, Powell River papermill added to working models
• goodnews split in 3:  regular, high test & transition
• website reactions listed
• opus errata online

2/12/2k sat (re fri biz)
- tracking self-inflicted wounds of U.S. economy in boring, rich-only "boom" -
omens:  • lone independent Bernie Sanders articulates The Problems
• Anthony Lewis & Arianna Huffington explain McCain phenom
• excesses of CEO pay roll on - from Silicon Valley to Wall St.
+ 2 high-tech downsizings reported, totaling 420 vanishing jobs:
• 6% workforce cut (350 jobs lost) as Policy Mgmt Systems insurance software seeks to cut costs - along with morale & consumer base - instead of doing 6% workweek cut (to 37.6 hrs/wk) & keeping whole company together, working & spending normally
• 70 employees dismissed as Viasoft reacts hysterically to failed merger with Compuware, instead of doing minimal hours & pay cut & everyone stays employed & focused
+ 5 takeovers reported, totaling $8.74B + $$undisclosed
vs. glimmers of hope:
• pregnancy rate lowest in 20 yrs - specially 'mong teens
• DNA research harnessed to save endangered species
• up side to oil prices - conservation & substitution
• Clinton finally smartens up with steel tariffs
• qik&easy fix for marriage/singles tax zigzag
• add to flagburning beef: massacring national anthem with overperformance

2/11/2k fri
- tracking the self-inflicted wounds of the American economy in so-called "boom" -
omens: • Greenspan urges derivative growth 
• some worry lawyers' soaring pay creating disparate classes in private sector (too late!)
+ 1 more downsizing reported, totaling 5041 vanishing jobs - 8% U.S. staff cut (800 jobcuts in addition to previous 4241) as Russell Athletic sportswear moves 90% of its plants to Central America, instead of cutting 8% of its U.S. hrs (to 37/wk) & keeping its American employees working & spending normally
+ 10 takeovers reported, totaling $2.71B + $$undisclosed
vs. glimmers of hope:
• House passes bill to end marriage tax (but now, singles tax??)
• Coolidge (sorry, we mean) Clinton thinks economy just dandy
• high-skill service economy offers high pay (but visas for foreigners instead of training for Americans)
• Web zillionaires dabble in philanthropy (but too little too late)
• US releases funds for poor to pay rocketing fuel oil prices

2/10/2k thu
- LEAPING LUDDISM! -
omens: • attacks on websites slow Net traffic  • macro viruses pose growing threat
• and why? - the return of the 60-hr workweek standard = return to 1900 & before
+ 1 downsizing reported - 70 jobs cut at Information Resources instead of retraining,
trimming corporate hours, & keeping everyone employed and spending normally
+ 14 takeovers reported, totaling $86.46B + $$$undisclosed
vs. glimmers of hope:
• great NYT editorial on top court's fatuous confusion of free speech & $$ (but readers staunchly stupid)
• 2 UNtakeovers - USFreightways scraps $133m buy of Transport Corp. of America,
Cambior of Montreal rebuffs $117m hostile bid from Aur Resources of Toronto
• webcrawlers now finding your perfect mate

2/09/2k wed
- the globalizing talk growth, walk shrinkage -
2 downsizings reported, totaling 27,000 vanishing jobs + unspecified:
• 27,000 jobcuts proposed as Spoornet rail in So. Africa tries to pretty up its
unprofitability by triggering a downward spiral in its clientele, instead of just trimming
hours, keeping everyone together & employed & spending, e.g., on rail travel
• unspecified jobcuts as Argentina downsizes a third of its secret service
+ 15 more takeovers reported, totaling $1.326B + $$$undisclosed
+ omens: • Japan soothing itself into liquidity trap (= depression)
vs. glimmers of hope:
• US productivity up (but without the theoretically coordinated rise in wages)
• 1 UPsizing - CVS to open up to 450 stores nationwide this year
• 1 UNtakeover - AMR to set Sabre Holdings free

2/08/2k tue
- implosion continues toward 1 megacorp. with 1 employee -
15 takeovers reported, totaling $113.24 billion + $$undisclosed
+ 2 downsizings reported, totaling 600 vanishing jobs + unspecified:
• 10% workforce cut (600 jobs) as Phillips &Chevron merge chemical units, instead
of 10% workweek cut (4 hrs/wk) & everyone keeps working & shopping
• unspecified cuts as Filene's Basement shuts all 8 Aisle-3 stores
+ 1 bankruptcy mention - broke Filene's Basement
approved to sell whole Aisle 3 chain
+ omens: • new Earth-threatening asteroid discovered
• US Gov't still betraying Indians, & the public trust
• Americans killing selves more than one another
vs. glimmers of hope:
• French already lead world on cutting workweek & now on commonsense population control
• work-saving robot population rises 60% in US & Canada
• pols find taxcut pandering loses magic
• chastened WTO scales back
• rising gas prices save fossil fuel
• new woman top exec, Pat Mitchell of PBS
• 1 UPsizing - PSINet to create 450 jobs in Long Island City

2/06-07/2000
weekend roundup per NY Times & Bos Globe:
• 13 downsizings this past week -
18,498 jobcuts +unspecified = this year's high
• 33 takeovers reported this past week (worth a record $190B)
• 5 bankruptcy mentions (T-F) - AmeriServe Food, CellNet Data, Integrated Health Services file; Filene's Basement gets bought, Service Merchandise gets more time to reorg
vs. 0 UPsizings reported & 3 UNtakeovers ($??)
<<< YTD totals:  59 dnsz (52,855+  jobcuts) + 221 takov ($413.84B +) vs. 9 upsz (9700+=28%) + 8 untak ($5.9B+) >>>
weekend omens:  • despite (/due to?) stock inflation, over half of US families on sidelines
• despite (/due to?) "boom," downsizing hasn't let up in Massachusetts
• despite its position of trust, US Supreme Court carves another
chunk out of the heart of American democracy
vs. glimmers of hope
: • Australian construction workers strike for 36-hour week
• Russia steps toward arms control, stops processing plutonium
• 1 weekend UPsizing: McDonald's to open 9 new locations in Russia ("McJobs" indeed!)
+ New Features: • Timesizing.com challenges Ted Kennedy in Y2K Senate race
• Local 76, CEP, Powell River papermill added to working models
• goodnews split in 3:  regular, high test & transition
• website reactions listed
• opus errata online

2/05/2k sat
1 downsizing reported - 2.2% workforce cut (2100 jobs) as BellSouth consolidates
departments & America's consumer base, instead of 2.2% workweek cut
(53 mins/wk) & everyone keeps working & shopping near-normally
+ 7 takeovers reported, totalling $723 million + $$undisclosed
+ omen - Q: "what stock bubble?" A: FirePond e-biz loses $9m in '98, $29m in '99 (321%
higher loss), goes public, & experiences a 356% stock gain on 1st trading day
vs. glimmers of hope: • 387,000 new jobs last month, but...
• US antitrust snaps on eBay for shafting smaller rivals
• Delta employees get Internet for $12/mo/36 mos.
• white knights hover to preserve Ben & Jerry's

2/04/2k fri
- Ford: "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - Reuther: "Let's see you sell'em cars" -
3 downsizings reported, totaling 1450 lost jobs + unspecified:
• 22% workforce cut (850 jobs) as profitable US-govt spinoff, US Enrichment Corp. (uranium firm) has tantrum because Washington won't compensate it for money it lost on deal that Washington got for it - instead of 22% workweek cut (to 31.2 hr/wk) & everyone keeps working, especially with 'many years' of pollution cleanup to do
• another 7% staff cut (600 jobs) of 20% target as StorageTek continues workforce water
torture, instead of minimizing trauma & cutting workweek in stages (40-37-34-32 hrs/wk)
to keep everyone together, working, & focused on winning back business
• undisclosed layoffs as Houston specialty retailer closes 60 Stage
Clothing Stores to cut costs instead of cutting hours for all
+ 2 bankruptcy mentions: • broke Filene's Basement gets bought
• Service Merchandise gets 14 more mos. to file reorg
+ 10 more takeovers reported, totaling
record-smashing $185.09 BILLION + $??
+ omens: • welfare changes chuck 1m kids into childcare
• one of our 4 top women execs steps down, Mattel's Jill Barad
vs. glimmers of hope:
• Ford employees get Internet for $5/mo.
• Congress set to keep Internet salestax free
• "good, BUT" - debt cut plan > bonds up BUT mkt chaos
• Pataki caves - NY guv was behind McCain ballot blockade
• 1 UNtakeover - P&O Steam Navigation spins off cruise div.

2/03/2k thu
- onward toward that single all-merged corporation with one employee & no markets -
5 downsizings reported, totalling 8325 lost jobs + unspecified:
• 20% workforce cut (7000 jobs) as CNH Global closes 10 plants & 15 warehouses, instead of minimizing trauma & cutting 20% of workweek (to four 8-hr days) to keep everyone working
• 15% staff cut (500 jobs) as Bethlehem Steel tries to hike productivity by hammering consumer
base, vs. 15% hours&pay cut (to 34-hr week) & no one goes into complete shock
• 5% cut (400 jobs) as Ernst&Young accounting/consulting shifts to e-commerce,
instead of 5% worktime cut (2 hrs/wk) and no diminution of e-commerce mkts
• 225 more layoffs than forecasted by Dynegy energy trading in Houston, TX
• ±200 cut as Beth Israel Deaconess Med.Ctr hires 10 big names to 'CYA'
+ again, 1 bankruptcy mentioned - Integrated Health Services nsg homes
+ 10 takeovers reported, totalling $1.66 billion + $ undisclosed
+ omens: • 45 impoverished nations lose their United Nations vote
• lack of free time becomes biggest check on economic growth
• Fed hikes rates so it'll just be longer trip back down
• Senate votes to toughen bankruptcy rules
• Amazon.com loss soars 543% in Q4
vs. glimmers of hope:
• Clinton targets 'digital divide' (but...) 
• NY GOP may smarten up & let McCain on ballot
• 1 UNtakeover - US moves vs. BP Amoco - ARCO merger

2/2/2k wed
2 downsizings reported, totalling 6,000 lost jobs + unspecified:
• 12% workforce cut (6000 jobs) as Valéo autoparts in France reacts perversely to 14% real profit gain instead of 12% workweek cut (from 35 to 31 hrs/wk) & everyone keeps working & spending
• unspecified jobcuts as Dynegy sells its natural gas assets (only) to Oneok
+ 5 takeovers reported, totalling $455m + $undisclosed
+ 1 more bankruptcy mentioned - CellNet Data Systems in Calif.
+ omen - another failed CEO gets a fortune in severance = $9m 'golden parachute'
vs. glimmer of hope - NH GOP voters reject big money (Forbes/Bush) - smarter than
NH Dems who should have given President Bradley a commanding McCain-like lead

2/01/2000 tue
...entering the 21st century with the politics & economics of the 19th...
3 downsizings reported, totalling 623 lost jobs:
• 1.6% workforce cut (550 jobs) as Norfolk Southern adds low morale to its
complaints about falling revenue, high diesel prices & weak export coal mkt, instead
of just 1.6% workweek cut (to 39.4 hrs/wk) & everyone keeps working & spending
• 3% staff cut as Harvard Pilgrim extends the nation's hammering on mental health care, instead of 3% hours cut for all (1 hr,12 mins/wk) & job reassignment to keep all employed
• 8 layoffs at the Mass. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission due to a
$100K budget shortfall, despite the governor's proposed taxcuts
+ 8 takeovers reported, totalling $1.71B + $undisclosed
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - AmeriServe Food files Chap. 11
+ omens:  • Merrill Lynch set to confuse brokerage with banking
• 2% of U.S. children will have homeless episode some time this year
vs. 1 glimmer of hope + 2 gleams from the past:  • Massachusetts wages up
• Romero: "impoverished" is actionable, not "poor"  • Trudeau still inspires - no "fuddle duddle"!


Click here for dooms du jour in Jan/2000.
Click here for dooms du jour in Dec/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in Nov/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in Oct/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in Sept/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in Aug-July/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in Jun-May/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in before Apr.30/99.


For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available online from *Amazon.com and at bookstores in Harvard and Porter Squares, Cambridge, Mass.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.


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