Woodworkers and the "new economy"

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How is the current economic situation affecting woodworkers specifically? This was a question recently posted on the forum but I thought it would be a good topic to bring to the front. My own response was as follows:

If the economy "gets fixed", all will benefit. People need to feel confident that if they spend some money, they will be able to get more. We, as woodworkers, are "working people". We need an economy in which people feel OK about buying our work. Most of what we do is not essential for survival. We are pretty much dependent on people having some discretionary money.

Right now I have a decent project in the shop. It's not a "fat" job by any means, but it's a job that will keep us going for a few months. Plus, the clients are feeling the pinch and they are trying to cut corners wherever they can. After this? Right now it's anyone's guess. The guys next door to me run a door shop. For years now they have typically done an average of ten houses a day. Right now they are averaging one. They have laid off most of their guys and cut their shop in half. They are "hanging in there" for now but they are not very optimistic.

President elect Obama has a huge task to perform. The current administration has completely decimated not only the economy but the environment, our "status" in the eyes of the rest of the world and everything else to boot. They have, in effect, thrown open the henhouse doors and told the wolves, "Come on in boys ..."

We have, as a nation, given Obama & Co. an opportunity to improve the situation. There is no guarantee they will be able to do so. Time will tell. But there is no doubt that as of [election] night, the world and especially our country is forever changed. Hopefully, this change will be for the better. It's hard to imagine anyone doing a worse job than those who have been in power for the last seven and a half years.

D.D.

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