IBM just recently cut several hundred jobs in the whirlwind of our rapidly declining economy. This is an all too familiar pain, especially for those in the Mid-Hudson region who recall the results of major cuts made in 1993. When businesses, such as IBM are forced to make cuts of these proportions, it has a lasting domino effect.
Back in 1993, the communities surrounding New York IBM plants felt the first blow. Of course, things are going to change when thousands of workers in any one area find themselves unemployed. It only makes sense that people have to make changes in order to eliminate expenses and survive. What is the biggest expense for most people? That's right. Their home.
While IBM is at it again, showing hundreds of loyal employees to the door, it's not as bad as it was in the early 1990's. However, it doesn't help that it's happening when the economy is in the lead on the race to $%&*ville.
Back when the freshly scorned "ex" IBM employees thought it might be a good idea to sell their houses, they found yet another obstacle on their quest for financial relief. Big Blue had made it their business to buy up the homes of those employees who were transferred to other IBM plants, and sell them at bargain basement prices. Good? Bad? Depends.
Not good for individuals who needed to sell, but certainly good for "buyers." As a matter of fact, Dutchess and Ulster counties experienced an increase in home sales shortly after the IBM cuts due to the rapidly falling prices.
Homes were not the only bargains in the area resulting from the 1993 IBM downsizing. The Hudson Line stations in Dutchess County saw a 28% ridership boost between 1992 and 1995, possibly due to the attraction of bargain hunting buyers traveling from New York's metro areas.
IBM's cuts were felt all over the region, yeilding a 1993 summer unemployment rate of 10% in Dutchess County. But all is not lost, as since then, new, diverse, and high-tech jobs have emerged. It seems we're in the midst of yet another cyle on the economic rollercoaster. As the saying goes, we must take the bad with the good.