We're in a world of pain ... and we're going to be in that world for a while. Calculated Risk shows exactly how Ouchy it is. For many right now, it's sort of like being in an iron maiden, with thumb screws attached to all of their digits.
Four months ago, a member and participant in the 401(k) called to ask about pulling her money out of her 401(k) retirement account and buying a house with it. I said:
"Uh, it's a little early to do that. Houses aren't through losing value ..."
Of course, there's the issue of her 401(k) losing value, but if most folks aren't mainly in fixed interest accounts by now ... well, they're a lot braver than I am ...
The animation industry's overall job numbers -- at least the unionized totals we track -- have held up reasonably well over the past year. But last night I ran into a lead who's departing one of our major employers for a job in the game industry. With a shake of the head he told me:
"I don't think the bigger layoffs have hit yet. I think that my almost former employer will be cutting back at the end of the year. I think some of the people working there will be surprised, and not in a good way."
As always, how animation performs in the marketplace is going to have a lot to do with animation's future employment levels. It always does. But entertainment company stock prices are in currently the toilet. On Thursday a Disney TVA employee remarked to me in sorrow: "I've been with the company fifteen years, buying shares every week with the employee purchase program. The stock's lower now than when I started, fifteen years ago."
We are thirteen months into the current recession, and probably have twice that to go. But don't count on me as a prognosticator. Read the linked graphs at Calculated Risk and draw your own conclusions.
And keep most of your extra earnings in cash and cash equivalents. No point in taking a flyer in Tech stocks quite yet.