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Thursday, January 22, 2004


Not a pretty picture

From the New York Times:

"Facing a sharp drop in demand for conventional photographic film, the Eastman Kodak Company said today that it was speeding its transition to digital imaging while cutting costs in its film business by eliminating up to 15,000 jobs worldwide, more than a fifth of its work force.

"Past job cuts have not damaged the economy in western New York State, but the new cuts may have a greater impact. Most older workers eligible for early retirement or large settlements are gone and the company has begun laying off people in their thirties whose only job has been with Kodak. The cuts will eliminate, over three years, close to 1 percent of the 528,000 jobs in the Rochester market."
And does anyone really think that "retraining" is the answer? Are the people being laid off from Kodak really going to be "retrained" as Ph.D. microbiolgists for jobs in the biotech industry, where it is claimed (with little justification) that the job growth will be coming? In truth, of course, the only job growth is in counter jobs at McDonald's and Starbucks, where the "retraining" is done on the job.

Will this "transition to digital imaging" create more jobs in the future? Don't count on it.

"Mr. Carp also said the company would concentrate on acquisitions that fit neatly into its business plan, rather than on exotic ideas that may show potential for future profits."
"Acquisitions" don't add jobs, they subtract them, as redundant functions are eliminated. It is precisely "exotic ideas" which are the kind of things which do result in future job growth, and precisely those things which Kodak says they will not be doing.

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