Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Our Hogs Are Kosher

I thought this sign was hilarious. It started off as a motorcycle club but became a t-shirt business.

Lennar Homes announced that it was slashing its forecast for the rest of the year, and that it would cut as much as 35% of its workforce over the coming months. Construction workforces shrink and grow pretty fluidly as work expands and contracts, so it’s a lot different than if, say, GM laid off 35% of its workforce. Still, it’s a huge number. The economy will have to find a way to put those people back to work. My guess is that most of these people are moderately skilled labor, with a lot of skills specific to the shrinking housing industry. Compare this to the bright forecasts and rush to buy up land that was going on among the public homebuilders just two years ago, as detailed in this NY Times article. All parties that seem like they’ll never end will end. It’s just a question of how and when.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was leaving Rhode Island and looking at some of the beautiful old houses and some crappy new developments, I thought that it would be better if it was always a tight market for homebuilders and sellers. Wouldn’t that cull some of the absolute crap from the market? When 5 year old houses look like many of these things look, you can’t help but know that they were built in a mad rush to get while the getting was good and move on to the next. They are also a response to the market’s demand for as much square footage per dollar as possible. The latter trend’s death is being predicted by many, as the taste for quality over quantity goes back through another cycle, and energy costs rise. Energy costs could really be a killer for a lot of people who are struggling to pay for houses that are too big and too expensive.

It’s really easy to look at the horizon and get the jitters, so what do you do? Ride your bike, of course! For the last couple of weeks I have busted out the Total Gym (don’t knock it – it works, and I freaking hate gyms) and done some strength training. Hopefully the elastic sleeve hems on my jersey will stop flapping in the breeze, hopelessly bigger than my biceps, and my caved in chest will once again go convex. Meantime, rides offer a chance to rewind this year’s races and think about next year’s campaign.

Having read some of the reports from the Charm City Cross Race last weekend, I am really looking forward to watching it firsthand at Ed Sander this weekend.

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