There's no such thing as a bad news tip.
That's one of the truisms of the newspaper business. A tip could be complete hogwash once you look into it, and certainly often is self-serving. But bad? No they're all good. We just need to find out if they're true.
I received one the other day that struck me as pretty interesting, an indication of a trend in the rubber business.
Andrea Korow, our classified sales manager, thinks she's stumbled onto something. ``Help Wanted'' ads in the classifieds section of Rubber & Plastics News are up 36 percent this year through the first quarter. They've been rising steadily over the last three years, and nearly half of the classifieds run in more than one issue.
Andrea sees the increase in help-wanted ads as a reflection of the hot streak the rubber industry has been on during that period. Business is good, companies need more people.
Pretty good assumption. It's my guess there are other factors at work, too (besides the fact we have a successful, hardworking classified ad manager).
The rush to reduce staff in the recession era prior to the good times might now be taking its toll in the rubber business. The cutbacks were relentless and unprecedented, as the industry restructured and automated.
The quickest way to cut costs is to reduce staff. But maybe too many people were cut: I've heard plenty of complaints from people at the major tire companies and suppliers who say they're now doing the job of two or three people. Some whining might be expected, but the consistency and number of complaints gives credence to them.
Another possibility is that prospective job candidates, particularly younger people just getting started in the real world, look at the rubber industry and see a business that has slashed and burned for a number of years. Admittedly, rubber is a ``mature'' business, and opportunities in other fields may look more attractive to newcomers.
I'm certain of one fact concerning the rubber industry's need for good employees: Finding them in the future won't get any easier. As we baby boomers start heading out to pasture, there just won't be as many work-age people around, and good ones will be at a premium.
Pleasant news if you're one of the good ones. Bad news if you're a manager trying to hire them.
Noga is editor of Rubber & Plastics News.