The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last Tuesday that employers issued 1,316 "mass layoff actions" (affecting 50 workers or more) in September; more than 122,000 workers were affected overall. USA Today financial reporter Matt Krantz wrote that "(m)uch of the recent layoff activity is connected to what's been the slowest period of earnings growth since the third quarter of 2009." Some necessary restructuring is underway in response to the stagnant European economy. But more and more U.S. businesses are putting the blame -- bravely and squarely -- right where it belongs: on the obstructionist policies and regulatory schemes of the blame-shifter-in-chief.
Last week, Ohio-based auto parts manufacturer Dana Holding Corp. warned employees of potential layoffs amid "looming concern" about the economy. President and CEO Roger Wood specifically mentioned the walloping burden of "increasing taxes on small businesses" and the need to "offset increased costs that are placed on us through new laws and regulations."
Case in point: Obamacare. The mandate will cost Dana Holding Corp., which employs some 24,500 workers, "approximately $24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses." As Ohio Watchdog blogger Maggie Thurber reported, the firm's Toledo area corporate offices laid off seven white-collar employees last Friday; company insiders told her more were on the way. They are not alone.
On Tuesday, Consol Energy issued a federally mandated layoff disclosure announcing its "intent to idle its Miller Creek surface operations near Naugatuck, W.Va." The move will affect the company's Wiley Surface Mine, Wiley Creek Surface Mine, Minway Surface Mine, Minway Preparation Plant and Miller Creek Administration Group, all in Mingo County, W.Va. Despite state approval, cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and myriad other agencies, and a stellar safety record, Obama's EPA dragged its feet on the permit approval process. The impasse has forced layoffs of 145 Consol Energy employees that will hit at the end of the year. They are not alone.