Saturday, October 03, 2009

Macro Economy, Animation Economy

Click to enlarge.

The U.S.A's economy is just bumping along ... and not super well.

... The unemployment rate, now at 9.8 percent, has doubled since the start of the recession, in December 2007.

"The labor market is still going backward," said economist Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Advisors Inc. in Bucks County. "Job losses remain high and the unemployment rate keeps rising."

Every single major sector of business showed continued declines, with the exception of education and health services, which added a mere 3,000 jobs. The information sector, which includes telecommunications and moviemaking, stayed flat.

If there is any stimulus money going into infrastructure and green construction, it is not evident from the numbers, because construction lost 64,000 jobs - more than the perennial loser, manufacturing. Even heavy and civil engineering construction, the group that would be building roads and bridges, saw a decline of 11,900 jobs.

In the past, government hiring had managed to somewhat offset losses in the private sector, but government jobs declined by 53,000, with the biggest number of cuts on the local and state levels ...

The problems here are multiple: the velocity of money moving through the economy keeps slowing and shrinking; companies aren't spending or investing because the under-employed populace isn't spending; government expenditures aren't robust enough to take up the slack.

I pretty much agree with Paul Krugman's prescient column from January about the new administration's stimulus plan:

This really does look like a plan that falls well short of what advocates of strong stimulus were hoping for — and it seems as if that was done in order to win Republican votes. Yet even if the plan gets the hoped-for 80 votes in the Senate, which seems doubtful, responsibility for the plan’s perceived failure, if it’s spun that way, will be placed on Democrats.

I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”

Let’s hope I’ve got this wrong.

Dr. Krugman was on the money about everything except the unemployment rate.

(Methinks we're probably going to 11-13% unemployment -- worse than the 1982-1983 train wreck, and it will probably take a good long while for jobs to recover. Unemployment-under employment is 17%. Yeowch.)

In Animationland, the jobs landscape is rosier. TAG's active membership now hovers between 2500-2700, and our historical active members/employment ratio is 75%-80% of actives having part time or full time work.

Animation's employment strength relative to the rest of the economy, of course, is market driven. Feature-length cartoons have been on a tear the past several years, and this is reflected in the sector's overall employment numbers. Television animation, up and down the past five years, now enjoys a mild resurgence (so we'll see where that goes.)

Excepting DreamWorks Animation, the trend in the 'toon business has been project-to-project employment. A series or feature starts, staff steadily expands. Series or feature spirals to a conclusion, staff gets handed its bye bye papers.

Some (but not all) of the current cartoon work proceeding apace in California:

Cartoon Network has a smaller staff than normal working on five different shows.

Walt Disney Animation Studios -- most of The Princess and the Frog laid off until Winnie, though a few survivors work on shorts. Lead animators swinging over to Rapunzel and Winnie the Pooh. Rapunzel crew will grow into the new year as production ramps up.

Disney TV Animation has Phineas and Ferb, Inspector Oso plus two newer series cranking up at the Sonora studio in Glendale. (Disney TVA is a shadow of its nineties incarnation.)

Disney Toons: Tinker Bells III through V in various stages of work. One other feature series is in early development.

DreamWorks Animation has a full, long-term staff working on several projects. (Next two up: How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek IV.)

Film Roman/Starz Media produces The Simpsons with a somewhat reduced crew from previous seasons, als ohas two Marvel series in work. (King of the Hill and The Goode Family have ceased production.)

Fox Animation on Wilshire Blvd. has three shows in ongoing production: Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show.

Image Movers Digital: Sizable staff rolling off Christmas Carol which had -- at its production peak -- a small crew working in the basement of Walt Disney Animation Studios. (It's gone now.)

Imagi has a skeleton story crew at work on Gochomon.

Nickelodeon (Nicktoons) has a variety of projects, ranging from Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar Penguins, to Mighty B, and Sponge Bob Square Pants.. Staff is sizable but below its peak.

Warner Bros. Animation has come out of hibernation and has a sizable staff working on Batman, Sccoby Doo and the new Loony Toon series Laff Riot, along with DVD super hero features.

Rough Draft has its non-union crew working on Fox's Futurama.

Wild Brain, gone from San Francisco, is working on a Peanuts project in the Valley. (This one is also non-union.)

Sony Pictures Animation works on the direct to video Open Season 3, Hotel Transylvania and animation hybrid The Smurfs. (Sony Imageworks, the production arm, is non-union.)

Muddy Waters Inc., produces Neighbors From Hell in conjunction with Fox, DreamWorks Animation and Bento Box studio.

Next week, if we can get our stuff together, we'll gin up specific numbers and maybe a pretty chart.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve-
You may have missed my question asked in a thread below, so I'll ask it here:

Is PDI under a union contract, or just Dreamworks in Glendale?

Thanks

Steve Hulett said...

PDI in the bay area is non-union, as is Disney Pixar.

Image Movers Digital (the Zemeckis unit in Novato, CA) is under an IA contract. TAG reps the employees there.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Mr Krugman is once again desperately and pathetically out of his gourd. Its shocking to see you agree with his assertion that the massive and ridiculous spending package was successful because ... it didn't spend enough.

Seriously?

Really?

I'm beginning to think that Paul Krugmans were at the very least first cousins if not siblings. This is not an inventory driven recession(like previous ones), it is a credit driven recession. Income didn't decline because spending declined (spedning was at an all time high - but Mr Krugman must have been too busy smelling Obama's farts to notice this). Income declined because debt service increased exponentially and any excess income that was left went to servicing debt.

Now there is more debt to service. Krugman the clown writes partisan love letters disguised as pragmatic takes on the economy. No one has ever made a return basing their investments on his advice. He is proven wrong time and again.

The idea.... that we didn't spend enough...

Its amazing what gets into print these days.

Anonymous said...

*above post edited for typos* - sorry.


With all due respect, Mr Krugman is once again desperately and pathetically out of his gourd. Its shocking to see you agree with his assertion that the massive and ridiculous spending package wasn't successful because ... it didn't spend enough.
Seriously?
Really?
I'm beginning to think that Paul Krugman's parents were, at the very least, first cousins if not siblings.

This is not an inventory driven recession(like previous ones), it is a credit driven recession. Income didn't decline because spending declined (speding was at an all time high - but Mr Krugman must have been too busy smelling Obama's farts to notice this). Income declined because debt service increased exponentially and any excess income that was left went to servicing debt.

Now there is more debt to service. Krugman the clown writes partisan love letters disguised as pragmatic takes on the economy. No one has ever made a return basing their investments on his advice. He is proven wrong time and again.

The idea.... that we didn't spend enough...

Its amazing what gets into print these days.

Anonymous said...

Your post made more sense with the typos.

Anonymous said...

Krugman is way off mark. What is very clear is nothing has changed at all, and in fact, the economy will completely fall off the cliff at some point, making 2008 look like a stroll in the park. It has nothing to do with spending or taxes at all. Inflation and the falling dollar are at the heart of everything. Remember, the government and the Federal Reserve are now the entire mortgage market. They are housing. As soon as they are forced to raise interest rates, the bottom is again going to fall out of real estate and the banks - the original problems. The original problems were not solved, it was put off, and now the consequences are going to be even more dire and more painful. It's nice to be Michael Moore and point the finger at the bad guys and scream and holler to put them in jail, but if we aren't willing to really talk about collective sacrifice now and give up our collective standard of living to mend the debt now, we are truly in for the mother of all financial hurricanes.

Anonymous said...

The bush econommic debacle will continue for the remainder of this year and into next. The signs of improvement are slow, but pretty much on par with every other historic recovery. The "i want what i want now" generation of the last 8 years, along with the "president" who did NOTHING to help the economy other than spend us into oblivion, are behind us, and now we have to pay the piper. Nothing is for free.

Anonymous said...

"The Bush economic debacle"?

Riiight. Remember those bad ol' days of low unemployment, a booming economy and a record-breaking stock market? Remember how it all came screeching to halt when the Dems took over Congress and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd proceeded to destroy the credit and housing
industries?

And Obama is certainly making it better with his spending sprees and inability to create consensus with the Dems and Repubs. Your defensiveness is pitiable, Anonymous #6. Obama's a miserable failure and he hasn't been in office a year. He's out of his depth. Pretty words and a pretty face don't mean much if there's no grit and intelligence behind them.

Anonymous said...

this administration wheels came off awhile ago. they are clueless. i would have never thought Bush spending would actually get a 3rd term (minus the keeping us safe part).

Anonymous said...

The anon's posting here in defense of Bush economics, and trashing Krugman are clueless.

Just because you can delude yourself about economics and who has run this country, practically uninterrupted for the last 40 years, doesn't mean you can delude us.

Your arguments are defunct, and proven failures... Move along please. It's impossible to debate the clueless(and liars) like yourself because you don't live in reality.

Arlo said...

Here is the reason that Obama's fans will never come to grips with:

9 months into this presidency, if Obama's administration is falling victim to the previous administration's 8 years of ignoring warning signs, then so be it.


BUT...
I didn't see this leeway granted to the previous administration when it came to 9/11. An event preceded by 8 years of constant obfuscation and out and out denial of the growing threat of Al Qaeda. 5 times there were strikes against our nation's interests in different parts of the world and the intention and operation to strike on our soil was stated and underway when the previous administration took office. The buck was passed to them and I never once heard this kind of leniency from the democrats.

Well the nation gave it to you, and now they expect you to be held to the same standards. Obama OWNS this economy. The bottom is falling out on his watch.

So quit passing the blame. Its desperate and makes you look infantile(but moreso).

And Krugman is a true moron to think that the stimulus "wasn't big enough". Gimme a freaking break.

Anonymous said...

>>The "i want what i want now" generation of the last 8 years

try 30 years, at least, and`a correction to erase every single dime of it. if you think this current bull market is any indication that congress and the white house have begun to dig us out, you are going to be on the wrong side of history and get sunk with the dollar. that will be the big purge, and one that everyone will surely feel. americans squeal when the price at the pump hits them in the wallet. just wait until everything else does, and all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

"Obama OWNS this economy"

Right. That's a conservative wet dream. As long as the economy remains in this condition, it's Bush's economy. Time is not the issue. The Republicans are being obstructionists, as usual. They don't care about economic recovery, health care reform or anything that might benefit the country. Their one preoccupation is regaining congressional seats in the mid-term election. They are willing to screw the economy and the American public to achieve their ends.

It won't be "Obama's economy" until it recovers. The party of Rove and Limbaugh would rather have us begging in the streets than allow a Democrat to get credit for accomplishing anything.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Once again, you are painting a rosy employment picture within our industry. What exactly is the definition of an "active?" Many of the animators I know are unemployed.
Are the unemployed artists supposed to feel good about or proud of the employed artists?

What's the point? If the administration is going put their attention on stimulating employment, bragging about being immune to the economic crisis doesn't make us a very squeaky wheel.

Are you,in some way, taking personal credit for the numbers?

Steve Hulett said...

I didn't see this leeway granted to the previous administration when it came to 9/11. An event preceded by 8 years of constant obfuscation and out and out denial of the growing threat of Al Qaeda. 5 times there were strikes against our nation's interests in different parts of the world and the intention and operation to strike on our soil was stated and underway when the previous administration took office. The buck was passed to them and I never once heard this kind of leniency from the democrats.

What history books are you reading?

Bush had an 80% approval rating after 9/11. He wanted to invade Iraq, Democrats okayed it. He wanted to fund increases for the war, Dems voted for them. They voted for Bush's "Patriot Act."

The Republican meme is that Barney Frank and the Democrats, the minority in '04 and '05 and '06, blocked reform of Fannie and Freddie and precipitated the financial crisis. Video from '05 and '04 congressional hearings are shown to prove this, overlooking the fact that the GOP then controlled congress and the minority could pass nothing by itself. (Forget about the video of George W. Bush touting the expansion of home ownership for poor minorities.)

I'm a liberal Dem, but here's the non-partisan reality: When the population perceives that the ruling party (always the party that controls the White House) is failing, they throw the incumbents out.

This happened to Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. It happened to Bush the elder and McCain in '08. It happened to Ronald Reagan in the '82 off-year elections, just as it will happen to Barack Obama if the economy isn't judged to be improving by voters in 2010.

But conservatives are certainly free to follow Rush and Hannity in the "It's all Barney Frank's fault!" storyline. Most economists disagree, but what do they know? That's what partisan attacks are all about. You find a talking point, throw it against the wall and hope it sticks. If it does, you win.

But the bottom line is: A majority of voters have to judge that the way you handle things isn't succeeding. And that the outs can do better. If they don't, your side loses.

Steve Hulett said...

Once again, you are painting a rosy employment picture within our industry.

Facts are what they are. TAG is near its all-time high in active membership.


What exactly is the definition of an "active?"

Somebody paying dues on a quarterly basis.

Many of the animators I know are unemployed.

Me too. I have a family member who hasn't worked in animation since the spring of '07 after a 20 year run of steady employment. The Hulett family's income has taken a big hit as a result.

That doesn't change that there is relatively high industry employment.

Are the unemployed artists supposed to feel good about or proud of the employed artists?

Well, my family member doesn't. I hear about the unhappiness a lot.

Are you,in some way, taking personal credit for the numbers?

No. I didn't in '94, and I don't now. I also don't take responsibility for declining numbers.

Anonymous said...

Whoever said it up top, is absolutely right no matter how difficult it is for some to accept it. This economic slide is a direct result of out of control Washington, continuing what was done in the last year of the the previous administration. America has had enough of the same old politicians and their minions preying on the uneducated and poor.

Arlo said...

" continuing what was done in the last year of the the previous administration. "

What??!?

The last year of the previous administration culd ot do anything. Congress was in control by the democrats. Bush was a "lame duck" president who didn't make any moves in the last year of his presidency. We must have all conveniently forgotten that.

Anonymous said...

Here's what happened. When finally, after years upon years of repeated warnings from solid economists on both sides of the fence that we were headed for financial calamity - a calamity born years before in the creation of the consumer-based economy, Nixon's divorce from the gold standard, and Greenspans subsequent invention of the FIRE economy to pour lighter fluid upon all of it - FINALLY, poor Paulson and Bernanke - the village idiots of the day who happened to be on watch when the entire over-leveraged ball of useless shit that is the United States economy exploded - FINALLY, these two idiots had absolutely no choice but to convene a select group of congressional leaders to deliver the very bad news that the United States of America was, indeed - as many during the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II administrations had already come to understand over the course of thirty long stupid years - completely, utterly, and finally insolvent.

Now, as of today, the level of productivity that the entire US citizenry would have to create in order to return to being a force of any importance in this world would require a mobilization of such size and substance that one can hardly imagine it taking place without history labeling the event the birth of another dictatorship. For that, in the end, is the only force that, at this point, could truly make such a thing possible.

And so therein is the paradox that America now finds itself in.

Anonymous said...

Quick! Declare war on Iran!

That oughta do it.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. That is how world wars are born. Why we time and time again focus on the sparks that ignite
the fuel is proof of how utterly naive
the populace remains toward the true causes
of mass conflict - namely, collective failure to take responsibility for our utter failures. We are the enemy.

r said...

Wrong Arlo! During the Clinton ad. the US tried a misslie strike against Al-Quaeda, which missed Bin Ladden only by a few minutes.
Clinton did take Osama's theats seriously.

The US needs to cut military spending, and spend more on other programs, like Education.

R.

Arlo said...

Clinton sent missiles into Afghanistan and he hit a mosque.

^which is called fermenting hatred for us abroad.

In fact, Mullah Omar stated that the missile strike is what convinced him that he should align himself with Al Qaeda BECAUSE of that missile strike. Clinton also bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan, but who is counting.

Its all Bush's fault. Even Obama failing to get the Olympic bid is Bush's fault. I wish this was an Onion article but the democrat party is actually that shiftless and lame that Bobby Rush is blaming the previous president for Obama's failure in Copenhagen:
http://tinyurl.com/yajvxor

There is no expiration date. If anything goes wrong they just cry and blame Bush. Thats not leadership floks. Its pathetic.

r said...

Oh, I see. Bush is a saint, he did no wrong. I see.

Osama had declared war on the US way before the missile strike. They had the anti american agenda waay before that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_aENuLFBn8

Where can I get the blinders you're wearing?

R.

Anonymous said...

While we are on the subject of provocation, how about going back to the original provocation and inspiration for 9/11? According to OBL, (as per captured tape), it was the US military adventure in Beirut. That was Reagan's doing.

Arlo said...

"
Oh, I see. Bush is a saint, he did no wrong. I see"


That was never said once. You should try and curtail the kind of binary thinking that would lead you to that presumption.(its embarrassing for you)

I would simply like the current president to stop blaming other people for his job. Didn't he say "I own it". Yeah.
Then he continued to pas the buck to the previous administration over and over - and he's sure to do it again.

Those aren't the traits of a real leader. People are out of work, they don't ant to hear whose fault it is. That doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

Is Steve going to have to pull this blog over to the side of the road until you kids stop fighting back there?!?

Steve Hulett said...

Nope.

I'll just take out an Uzi and spray the backseat.

Or maybe get a military drone to take the car out with a missile.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget, idiot bush and dick allowed 9/11 to happen by not paying attention to intelligence reports. Then they trumped up lies about wmd in Iraq, and began the quagmire. Aside from the BILLIONS spent on an unecessary war, they spent more money than ANY CONGRESS IN HISTORY--but in all the wrong places.

It's nice to have a REAL man in the White House for a change.

Anonymous said...

Or we could finally concede what you all know is fact.

Both parties are controlled by the bankers and corporations. We go to war in order for the banks and corporations to fund both side of the wars. No matter which political party is in power, the banks win. Our economy is not controlled by the government, but by private banks. The government does nothing but service it. So continue to vote republican or democrat...it doesn't matter. They march us all off to the same sorry demise.

We don't live in a free society folks...it is all planned...and completely controlled.

Wake the f up!!!

Anonymous said...

>>>We don't live in a free society folks...it is all planned...and completely controlled<<<

Yes, it's all controlled by a roomful of Jews!!!

r said...

Hey Arlo...Is it because he's black?

r.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, it's all controlled by a roomful of Jews!!!"

I hope this blogger was being ironic. I would hate to see this blog taken over by insane Nazis or foaming-at-the-mouth Islamists.

Even if you were being ironic, it was in bad taste. Take it somewhere else, moron.

Anonymous said...

Second that!!

Anonymous said...

Look!!! The morons are calling someone else a moron!

Still amazes me how few people that post on an animation blog don't have much of a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

I said,"I hope the blogger is being ironic," So I suspected that you were kidding, but it was a bad "joke."

The remark was completely out of context and without attribution. There was no one in particular you were quoting or ridiculing. What you quoted was not from a bigot or a "wingnut." We can't hear your tone of voice on line so the remark sat there naked and ambiguous like a smelly lump of shit for eight hours until you explained it.

I really recommend that you proofread your blogs before you post them. Your meaning may not be as clear as you think. There is a difference between having a sense of humor and having to have ESP.

Anonymous said...

You said: "There was no one in particular you were quoting or ridiculing. What you quoted was not from a bigot or a "wingnut.""

But since he did quote a wingnut floating an absurd conspiracy theory about how the world is controlled by unseen forces (>>>We don't live in a free society folks...it is all planned...and completely controlled<<<) It seems pretty clear he was being more than just ironic (I guess you learned what irony is from Alanis Morisette?) he was being sarcastic by quoting an old wingnut theory about how the world is controlled by a roomful of Jews. If you're either to young or too humorless to get this then I also must conclude that you are a moron or at the very least a pompous humorless douchbag - or maybe the wingnut that was being made fun of initially...?

Anonymous said...

Or, possibly, a Jew? Perhaps the child of Holocaust survivors and the grandson and nephew of a number of victims, who doesn't find antisemitism funny?

You do enjoy insulting people, don't you? I'm sure the quote had more to do with corporatism and compromised politicians than mysterious paranoid hidden conspiracies.

This pompous humorless douchbag wingnut occasionally watches the news and sees crowds cheering in some parts of the world when told that the Holocaust is a myth, and that Israel is controlling the American government, where children are taught to hate and kill Jews in kindergarten.

Sorry to spoil your fun, but while these things are going on,(even in parts of America), it's hard for me to see the humor in it.

I do have a sense of humor and I do understand sarcasm. I also believe that people who have an exaggerated sense of paranoia about the establishment deserve to be mocked, but without some additional indicator, (for us dim-witted people), like, "I suppose you think," or "Adolf," or "Achmedinijad," his intention was far from clear, and the poster who commented after me agreed.

Jewy Jewman said...

It's a good thing Jews (including me) have a better sense of humor than you! I get the joke that person was making.
He saw someone making a wild conspiracy statement and referenced THE oldest traditional conspiracy theory around - I got the joke.

r said...

it was a bad joke.

rufus.

not a wingnut said...

I always thought humor was subjective. But obviously it's not. Rufus and others here on this forum seem to when a joke is good or bad for everyone.

The real point of the joke (whether Rufus likes it or not) is the fact that the person being joked about was a wingnut espousing a ridiculous conspiracy theory.
If you want to jump on someone, that's the person you should be jumping on not the 'joker'. Or is rufus the wingnut or one the others defending so hard the original statement?

Anonymous said...

First of all, it's not so ridiculous, and not, strictly speaking, a conspiracy theory. All you have to do is take a casual look at the control lobbyists have over politicians and you're halfway there. Just look at the way the health insurance industry spending billions scaring people into protesting and fighting against their own best interests.

Second, just because something was intended as a joke doesn't mean the joke wasn't in bad taste or mean spirited or, in this case, unclear out of context.

There were many other potential, less ambiguous and funnier ways to ridicule the poster; Martians, Communists, hippies, Zoroastrians, etc. To use an actual minority group, in a typed blog where the reader can't hear inflection, is too close to the bone to be funny. It was to far a reach.

I'm not saying that the "joker" is a bad person, or even a bigot, just that it was a bad joke. There is such a thing as a bad joke. Even if you have a sense of humor.

r said...

Totally agree with the last post.
I wasnt taking sideas at all. I simply said it was a bad joke.

Rufus.

Anonymous said...

Its not a conspiracy theory if it is true.

Once they open the books of the Federal Reserve and the trillions they have spent and who they have given it to...then we will know once and for all if this is all just a silly illusion or not.

And by the way, the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with jews or any other ethnic group.

Anonymous said...

I bet you7 believe in the gunman on the grassy knoll too....

r said...

bet you believe in the magic bullet theory....

r.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for proving my point, r.

Anonymous said...

I bet you7 believe in the gunman on the grassy knoll too....



I want to live in your world where the government is honest and never lies. That must be kind of like being high all the time.

We didn't know about pearl harbor beforehand, and the gulf of tonkin was legit...and oh yeah...there were WMDs in Iraq afterall.

Weee...this feels like flying.

Anonymous said...

"Weee...this feels like flying."

It must be because you are high on something. Gulf of Tonkin "legit?" I can't imagine exactly what you mean by that. Like your other reference, the phantom WMDs, it was used as a pretense to justify starting or escalating wars of questionable purpose or legitimacy. It's an old American presidential administration PR strategy that goes back to the Maine and the Alamo. Apparently, it never gets old.

We have been looking for those elusive WMDs since before the war. I guess you finally found them. Congratulations!

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