The economy in 2009 certainly wasn't the best of times, and maybe was the worst of times since the Great Depression.
The general collapse of the economy began in earnest in September 2008 by a panic when Lehman Brothers was allowed to die, resulting in one domino falling after another: home foreclosures, bankruptcies, a frigid lending market, stalled consumer spending, unemployment if you were alive in the past year anywhere in the world, you know the story.
The rubber industrymany of whose members missed out on the boom years in the 1990sgot its share of bad news throughout the year. General Motors' and Chrysler's bankruptcies, in particular, hurt automotive suppliers, although the bigger ones generally seemed to squeak by, if only via their own bankruptcy filings.
Smaller rubber component subcontractors to higher tiers were hit hard, and several long-time players in the business went under.
Demand for just about everything tumbled, meaning layoffs and closings throughout the business. In November the Rubber Manufacturers Association forecast a 13-percent decline in tire shipments for 2009 from a dismal 2008, and that was a more-optimistic prediction than earlier in the year.
Following a bank bailout and billions earmarked, although relatively not much spent yet, in stimulus money, the economy began to climb out of the morass in the third quarter, bringing an official end to the recession. But don't tell that to the still struggling rubber companies and their employeesthose still working or the legions still out of a job.
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