Where Have All the Welders Gone, As Manufacturing and Repair Boom?



At the very least. They were the ones Allowing those who couldnt afford those overpriced houses..to buy one at rates/prices they could never have afforded unless "creative financing" was applied. Particularly here in California..the land of the 2000 sq ft $600,000 home. (or more)
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/P149596.asp http://tracypress.com/content/view/3455/2/ http://www2.townonline.com/bedford/localRegional/view.bg?articleidV0049
My little corner of the world is no different either... http://www.lewrockwell.com/ocregister/housing-bubble.html
http://work-at-home.business-opportunities.biz/2005/10/26/discerning-a-housing-bubble-bakersfield-ca/
Posted: Tuesday May 3rd, 2005, 11:40 PM Last Updated: Tuesday May 3rd, 2005, 11:43 PM
You knew this day was coming. You've driven past housing developments that, as best you can remember, were almond orchards or rows of alfalfa just the previous week. And now, practically overnight, as if Rod Serling had somehow orchestrated the transformation, those fields are cul-de-sacs filled with twig-trunked trees, spiky green lawns and curbside skateboard ramps.
Nevertheless, it's mildly stunning to realize that the population of Bakersfield proper now unofficially exceeds 300,000. In one dizzying 12-month burst of growth, Bakersfield has leapfrogged past Riverside and Stockton to become the 11th largest city in California.
Maybe you heard earlier this week that the State Department of Finance now puts Bakersfield's population, as of Jan. 1, at 295,893. The agency also puts Bakersfield's 2004 rate of growth at 4.7 percent, largest in California among cities with at least 200,000 people.
Assuming that rate of growth has continued into 2005 -- and that's almost certainly the case, given the ongoing demand for building permits, according to Jim Eggert, a principal planner with the city -- Bakersfield hit 300,000 on or about April 15.
The metro area's total population, including unincorporated islands and appendages such as Oildale and Alta Vista, is roughly 452,000.
Three hundred thousand has a certain ring to it, a resonance that suggests a city of consequence. It will look good on city-limits signs along the freeway, on Chamber of Commerce brochures and in PowerPoint presentations on economic development.
The new population number also underscores the continuing challenges that city and regional planners will continue to face, however -- core issues like traffic, air quality, water and public safety, but also tougher-to-quantify matters. Things like a city's personality and character. Parks, recreation, arts and diversity of business are some of the relevant factors there. But it's more than that.
Call it vibrancy. Some cities have it and some cities don't, and it doesn't merely boil down to money and a city's willingness to spend it.
It's about vision and the will to act on it. Bakersfield's breakneck pace of growth -- brought more clearly into focus by the 300,000 population threshold -- only makes those things more important now. Because tomorrow somebody's pouring more asphalt. Somewhere.
The new population milestone might sound good to some ears, but it has offsetting negatives: As the city grows, sales and hotel tax revenues will grow, allowing the city more flexibility in some areas.
But service costs will grow too, more so if Bakersfield continues to be among the state's leaders in residential lot size.
And if growth brings more affluence, Bakersfield's chances of jump-starting urban redevelopment will take a hit, because fewer areas will qualify for federal redevelopment grants.
But maybe that's making lemons out of lemonade: Other cities have undertaken positive makeovers long after they became "cities of consequence" and achieved new levels of affluence.
Bakersfield need only look at Anaheim, the city immediately above it on the list of California's most populous.
No. 10 Anaheim (pop. 345,317) pulled off a striking remake of its downtown a few years ago, and the tourism business in the Orange County city has never been better.
Growth doesn't blunt a city's ability to remake itself, but it does up the ante.
A few other statistical morsels from the Department of Finance report:
Bakersfield added 13,222 residents in 2004, nearly as many as San Diego (14,035) and San Jose (13,625), the state's second- and third-largest cities.
Bakersfield officials can't say how many new residents moved in from other places in 2004, or to what extent the population increase reflected the number of local births in excess of deaths.
But they do know how many people became residents because their homes were annexed into the city: just 19. Most of the city's annexations in 2004 were in unpopulated areas.
Kern County added 20,669 residents in 2004, seventh-most among the state's 58 counties. Kern was the sixth-fastest growing California county at 2.8 percent -- the second-fastest rate among counties with at least 350,000 people.
Bakersfield's growth rate might have been No. 1 among larger cities, but it wasn't No. 1 in Kern County. That distinction belongs to McFarland, which jumped to 12,179 -- an increase of 8.2 percent. Delano grew to 45,056, an increase of 3.4 percent.
Maricopa lost four people. We're not certain where they went, but the town is down to 1,147 people.
**************
Gunner's Note...the increase mentioned above..was largely Illegal Aliens. While they may buy a house..they tend to be only able to rent..and then only with 4-15 get together and pool their money. So those who want to cash in on rising housing prices buy a new home, and then rent their old one...they are generally still carrying two mortgages (or more).
If the public finally gets its way..and a goodly portion of the illegals are deported, or no more are allowed in..rental incomes will either go no further, or drop like a rock off a very tall cliff. Suddenly there is a huge surplus of housing..with no one to fill it..or make the mortage/tax payments for the owners, who suddenly have their asses hanging out over that same cliff..and the dirt is shifting under their feet....
Im glad my house is paid for. Shrug
Gunner
"I think this is because of your belief in biological Marxism. As a genetic communist you feel that noticing behavioural patterns relating to race would cause a conflict with your belief in biological Marxism." Big Pete, famous Usenet Racist
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Gunner wrote:

That will be one of the many reasons why the public won't get its way on that issue. No way W & Co. want a deep recession before 2008.
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wrote:

What "way" is the public wanting??
Gunner
"If I'm going to reach out to the the Democrats then I need a third hand.There's no way I'm letting go of my wallet or my gun while they're around."
"Democrat. In the dictionary it's right after demobilize and right before demode` (out of fashion). -Buddy Jordan 2001
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wrote:

Sigh...ignore the brain fart comprising the previous post about "what way"...I just got in from playing pool for the last 6 hours..and Im brain locked.
Gunner...two rails in the side pocket....CLICK!
"If I'm going to reach out to the the Democrats then I need a third hand.There's no way I'm letting go of my wallet or my gun while they're around."
"Democrat. In the dictionary it's right after demobilize and right before demode` (out of fashion). -Buddy Jordan 2001
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wrote:
<snip>

<snip> ===========================Thanks for the input. I do suggest however that there are tacit/implicit two factors in your narrative that might not apply to the average/typical weldor/welder who is "average."
#1 you appear to be very, very good. #2 you appear to have been very, very lucky by being in the right spot at the right time, with the right skill set.
It can be very misleading to generalize about general conditions and the aggregate population from the anecdotal experiences of the very good and highly lucky.
For example, Tiger Wood could say, "the black population is a bunch of slackers and no-loads, just look at what I did." Of course, Tiger will say no such thing, as he recognizes that he is unique in possessing the almost perfect body structure for golf, having a pro golfer for a father that encouraged and coached him every step of the way, and having a non-segregated pro golf tour. The last, and possibly most critical, item is having the good luck to live in a country where golf is important and pays well. Statistics tells us there are several black athletes in the US that are just as good in curling or polo as Tiger is in golf, but as these are not well paying organized professional sports, they aren't making, and will never make, any money from their skills/talents/abilities no matter how well they develop these.
It is highly contemptuous and grossly ignorant of American management to regard a skill set such as certified/code welder as something anyone can quickly develop if they attend a few weekend or evening community college classes.
To be sure, many of the community colleges and technical schools do produce certified code welders, but it is not a quick, easy, or cheap process. Extensive practice time is required (which will only do any good if the person has the innate talent/skills to be developed), extensive amounts of consumables [gas, rod, practice material] are required, and the certification process is time consuming and expensive. Given the out-of-pocket [tuition, fees, books, transportation, equipment] and opportunity [money they could have made working at a Quickmart rather than going to school] costs to the students, and the equipment they must provide, of course they want a premium above minimum wage.
As astounding as it may be to the CEOs, most people do not have trust funds that allow them to ride out economic downturns or loss of employment without working. People that are skilled welders, but cannot find welding employment, must find other employment ASAP. It is while working in other fields that many welders become aware, that while the gross pay is lower, the working conditions, such as steady employment, and being home every night, thus eliminating the need to support two vehicles, two households, not dragging their kids from school to school, etc., more than compensates.
From another perspective, why would someone who was welder and got the chop, give up an existing steady job to go back to welding for less disposable income on an inflation-adjusted basis? This ain't show-biz.
This is not a weldor/welder supply/motivation/training/certification problem; this is a CEO/management metal health problem.
Unka George
(George McDuffee)
Let us remember -- I against my brother I and my brother against our cousin I, my brother and our cousin against the neighbors All of us against the foreigner. Bedouin Proverb. Quoted by Bruce Chatwin in: The Songlines, ch. 30, "From the Notebooks" (1987).
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Being average is a problem, not a permanant condition. When I started out I was as clueless as anyone else would be. BTW, I'm not a welder.

I've been told that. But that didn't just happen. I made it happen.

Yes and no. When I first saw the machines that I specialize in, I had zero experience, but I saw the potential. So I set about becoming expert at them.

While much of that is true, Tiger would be a never-was had he not worked his ass off "playing" golf.

Not really. If I were manufacturing a given product that needed welding in a production environment, I wouldn't really need a very skilled welder. I need an employee that I could train to go through the motions properly. Everything from the wire to the settings on the box would be preset to what works. Good Q.C. would take care of the rest.
If I were running a welding business and had a wide variety of work coming in the door, then I would need skilled employees.
It's the same with machining. The real money is in short run complicated work, because that's where real skill is needed. In high volume repetitive work, the same skill is needed in an engineering role to set up the process. If it's done right, low skill, low wage labor can run the actual production.

True enough. But the service sector is the larger and better paying segment of our economy. So that's what manufacturers have to compete with for employees, and in a lot of cases they can't compete at all. Look at clothes for example. Who would want to work in a factory for minimum wage running a sewing machine when unemployment is so low? The answer is no one of course. That's why clothes are nearly all made overseas.

CEO's aren't running charities and they know very well that fired workers may not have anywhere to go with their current skill set. Larger companies will often offer training and outplacement assistance, which shows that not all CEO's are clueless.

There's opportunity all over the place. Most people will tell you that it sucked when they lost their job. But check back with them in a couple of years and most will say it was the best thing that could have happened to them. Good people eventually will find a good job.

Nope. It's the problem with free market capitalism. There is never really any security. But every time some well meaning official tries to regulate the market, the problems are always made worse.
Also, if you think the CEO or owner of the company you work for is an idiot, then you need to move along before the place tanks. Gut instinct is usually dead on.
--

Dan

Scopulus est usquequaque nefas
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wrote on 21 Aug 2006 04:17:57 GMT in rec.crafts.metalworking :

    Eventually. The comment I've heard more than once was "I was looking for a job when I found this one."
    And like everything else, demands comes and goes. Upteen zillion years ago, or around 1979, (I think. Lessee, the last mastodon died in ...) I was told that the place Jerry worked was putting the welders on half days so that everybody could get some work. But if you could operate a lathe, the question was "Can you start immediately, or do you want to wait until tomorrow?"
    I should have gotten a clue and taken up machining then.
tschus pyotr
--
pyotr filipivich.
as an explaination for the decline in the US's tech edge, James
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On Mon, 21 Aug 2006 05:48:27 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com wrote:

======================================This discussion applies to not only the metal trades in general, and welding in particular but to a large number of other occupations/professions such as nursing and teaching, so lets try putting this in another context.
Just before I retired as Director of Institutional Research at a community college, I did an in depth survey of the current employment "shortages." When the numbers are checked, it is apparent that far more welders, machinists, nurses, teachers, etc. are produced every year that should be required based on the number of slots available and the numbers of qualified practitioners produced in prior years, given retirements and deaths.
Thus the problem is *NOT* one of supply but one of retention/preservation.
The total expense to train qualified welders, machinists, nurses, etc. is enormous, and this cost is mainly covered by society and the student/learner, i.e. government through direct educational appropriations, and indirect subsidies such as tax exemption of educational facilities.
While the student's out-of-pocket [tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation] and opportunity costs [money they could have made working rather than going to school] are significant and increasing, these cover, especially in the more trade and technical areas, only 1/4 to 1/3 the total cost at a public community/technical college, less than 1/2 at the typical state university, and about 1/2 at the typical private university, when endowment income and student aid is included.
It does not appear unreasonable to question why American organizations, public as well as private, should be allowed to operate in such a way that they fail to retain (and indeed appear to periodically discard, possibly to avoid seniority costs such as pension vesting, extended vacations, spousal benefits and insurance) the trained and educated employees they have been provided at enormous individual and governmental expense. We do not allow the trucking companies to overload their trucks or operate at excessive speeds on the public roads because of the severe damages and avoidable hazards this causes, even though this does reduce their immediate profit.
It is a human characteristic to value a thing by what it cost to obtain, and if it is "free," it has no value. Perhaps it is time to begin to levy a special up-front "training compensation fee" of 10,000-20,000$US for every certified/licensed/registered employee hired, to help offset governmental education/training costs. This should help inhibit the typical inhale/exhale employment cycle, and make clear that training/education are not "free goods" that can be wasted.
In any event, just because I want (or even need) "something" is no reason I should get it, particularly at someone else's expense, and especially if I have just discarded the "something," the week before because I thought didn't need it or did not want to maintain it, and knew I could get more for "free."
Whatever the answer, it is clear the present situation where the total costs of training/education cannot be recovered in a reasonable time, is not sustainable.
Unka George
(George McDuffee)
Let us remember -- I against my brother I and my brother against our cousin I, my brother and our cousin against the neighbors All of us against the foreigner. Bedouin Proverb. Quoted by Bruce Chatwin in: The Songlines, ch. 30, "From the Notebooks" (1987).
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says...

Ah, George. You must be a communist/socialist/liberal/tree-hugger if you advocate that line of thought.
Think about the *consequences* of your plan, sir. It would mean that corporations would no longer be able to fire workers when they get old! Or sick. Or otherwise, well paid.
It would mean they would no longer have the free market benefit of being able to price or wage fix with each other!
It would mean they might have to give up some of their profit which has been so justly earned.
Etc, etc, etc.
Jim
--
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On 21 Aug 2006 13:22:20 -0700, jim rozen

============Or applying the same principal to the big corporations that we do to the wellfare mothers -- i.e. for nothing you should get nothing.
If prior planning, "saving for a rainly day", "waste not -- want not" and delayed gratification is good for the people on the bottom, it should even be better for the people at the top, including "persons at law."
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
Unka George
(George McDuffee)
Let us remember -- I against my brother I and my brother against our cousin I, my brother and our cousin against the neighbors All of us against the foreigner. Bedouin Proverb. Quoted by Bruce Chatwin in: The Songlines, ch. 30, "From the Notebooks" (1987).
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I knew there was something about you I liked.
Steve ;-)
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F. George McDuffee wrote:

You may have a point about the problem, but I suspect your solution would work out like this: final-year tradeschool/technical school students get offered jobs... contingent on dropping out of school to start them one month short of graduation or formal "certification"
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For those who want to go out and find it.
Steve
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Please tell us about your diving and underwater welding experience.
I'd sure like to know where these people worked. During the seventies, I was a diver in the Gulf of Mexico. There were NO underwater welders. Only divers who occasionally did some rudimentary underwater "welding". A friend of mine who is the best weldor I have ever seen worked for Taylor Diving/Brown and Root. He was called on to weld and cut occasionally, but did mostly habitat welding and SPAR welding. See following paragraphs.
Everything is welded topside in atmospheric conditions and then bolted up below. Pipeline tie-ins are done with couplings and not welded as on topside pipelines.
This is a rumor that Scopes needs to address. There IS some underwater welding done, but it is done by the most elite welders in the world. Because of all the complicated variables involving water around welding rods, or making a gas shielded environment, underwater welding is not done a lot. When it is done, it is done by the best there is, and there are only a handful of these men. There is more underwater cutting, which is an electric/oxygen process, and doesn't require much skill or training.
Anyone who talks about all the underwater welding that goes on doesn't have a clue as to how oilwells work, or how the piping system is laid or repaired.
Steve .......... been there, done that, go the t shirts, scars, and photos.
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wrote:

Spoken like a guy who thinks that no matter what life throws at him he'll find a way to get back on top. But it sounds to me like someone who has not had any real misfortune happen to him. Suppose you had an accident and lost the use of your right hand. I don't think you would be looking at welding for a career anymore. The point is that no matter what you do there are too many things outside of your power that can ruin you. If you haven't had that happen to you then you are one of the lucky ones. Which is something the "successful" people never seem to be aware of, how lucky they really are. They always think it's their work that is why they have succeeded, never their luck.
Hawke
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Yup. I have to.

Wrong.
First off, I'm not a weldor. Second I have insurance.

Mystical thinking. I don't believe in it. Sorry.

Perhaps I just have more motivation than you. I have a handicapped son that will need to be taken care of long after I'm gone. So I need to earn and put away two lifetimes worth of money so he'll not end up in poverty. Bad luck? No. My responsibility? Yes.
I call it responsibility for my actions rather than luck because when you decide to have a kid there are risks, albeit small. You can call it bad luck, I don't. You can say that I've gotten lucky in my career, I don't. I also don't remember seeing you or your good and bad luck around when I was working two full time jobs at 80+ hours per week, trying to hold things together. I also don't remember seeing you and the luck at night school.
I don't believe in mystical thinking, good and bad luck, and all that BS. Everything you do carries a statistical probability, however small, that you will get the less than desired outcome. Every time you climb into a car there's a chance you will be injured or die. It's not luck. It's a probability. The more time you spend in the car the more likely the less than desired outcome will happen to you.
There are also equal probabilities that if you show up to work on time, sober, and willing to go above and beyond, things will go better for you than they will for the guy who drinks his pay and doesn't give a damn. Odds are good that if you go to college, you'll earn more money. It doesn't matter how old you are either. You can go anytime, at night and on weekends, and earn a degree. Does it suck? Yeah.
I will agree that my kind of thinking is out of style anymore. Today there is mystical thinking and blame of others for all of life's little probabilities that have come to pass on your ass. Responsibility for ones own self and family is hopelessly out of style. But it suits me just fine thanks.
--

Dan

Scopulus est usquequaque nefas
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Still young, strong, ten feet tall and bulletproof, huh? Ah, I remember it well.
Then came reality.
Doing an Elvis impersonation on the bathroom floor.
Days of intensive care.
Respirators.
Multiple hospitalizations.
Multiple surgeries.
Ah, to be young, strong, ten feet tall, and bulletproof again ...........................
sigh ...........................
Steve
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Sir: Next time in Seattle, look me up. I'd like to shake your hand and buy you a beer.
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That isn't the point. If you get a bad break it doesn't matter what you did right or how hard you worked. Bad things happen to good people all the time. And hard work doesn't pay off all the time. Like I said, if it did there would be a lot more successful people because a lot of people work very hard and still wind up with nothing.

I call it cold, hard reality. Life isn't in your control. If you think it is take a trip to Lebanon and hear what the people who were successful a month ago and are now penniless tell you.

Your handicapped son has just as much opportunity to succeed as you did. All he has to do is work hard and he'll be successful, right? Maybe you can see that without the tools necessary for success all the hard work in the world isn't going to get you where you want to go. That's the point. If you don't have the requisite tools and the breaks you aren't going to make it. You need both and without one or the other you will fail.

You just don't recognize your luck when you see it. Does it take any luck to work 80 hrs a week for any length of time? Most people aren't strong enough or healthy enough to do that. Apparently you were lucky enough to have the constitution to do it. Most don't. Moreover, what would have happened if you got sick or injured. You would have failed. You were lucky that didn't happen to you. I'm not saying you didn't have to work hard. I'm saying you had the luck for your hard work to pay off, most don't.

Yes, it's true that the probability of accident increases as one is exposed to the hazard. But when it happens to you and how bad it is makes all the difference in the world. An accident after 40 years of driving the puts you in the hospital isn't the same as one that happens when your are 20 and cripples you. Luck enters into every aspect of life. You may not want to accept that but it's still true. In case you haven't noticed all the successful people are also lucky.

I know.

Your thinking isn't just out of style. It's just plain not rational. If you look at things objectively you will see that there is a substitute for hard work, it's called luck. Hard work will get you so far but luck will get you further. Take Condi Rice, she worked hard to educate herself and get a good job at Stanford University. That is quite an achievement that she earned the hard way. Now compare what she has achieved from being friends with the Bush family. First she gets appointed to the job of national security advisor, which just being a professor doesn't qualify one for. Then she gets appointed Secretary of State, another job which just being a national security advisor doesn't qualify you for either. In both cases Rice got much farther from the luck of knowing Bush rather than her hard work to become a professor.
If you really want to see who got lucky just look at Dr. Phil. He worked hard to get credentials in psychology and had a successful business of jury consulting. But it was meeting Oprah Winfrey that made him a multimillionaire and famous. So, what I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with good old fashioned hard work, and most people don't succeed without it. But luck goes a lot farther. You know the old saying about being lucky or being good, and being lucky is better. That is what I'm saying. Hard work is good but luck is a lot better. And without good luck hard work will only get you so far.
Hawke
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A good friend of mine back in Michigan was a state champion welder 2 years in a row. He was just amazing. Could do all the overhead pipe welds and had a long career ahead of him. 1 year working at Checker motors in Kalamazoo doing Mig production on Camaro frames ended all that. His right hand got so cramped up from squeezing that trigger 8-10 hours a day put him in a serious disability. It was a common injury there. He was only making about 11 bucks an hour. Welding was his life. Not anymore. he died a couple years ago. Used up. Broke.
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