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January 28, 2009, 02:20 AM
Last night I placed an ad in the local Craigslist to hire a helper for my sheet metal business. I've done this before, using the exact same ad. You can see the ad here:


I've always gotten a good response from this ad, maybe 10 or 15 calls or so. Two of my three full time sheet metal installers responded to this very same ad several years ago. But this time . . . holy smokes!

The phone literally rang off the hook all day long!

Right now, I've got 21 messages on the answering machine in my office, 6 on the phone company hardwired voicemail, and 18 emails in my inbox (plus two more that just came in while I'm writing this). When I leave the office, I call forward to my cell phone, and for the first time ever, my cell phone voice mail is full . . . it's got 45 messages and won't accept any more . . . that's 92 calls/emails responding to the ad today, and I'd estimate that after the mail box was full, at least another 15 or 20 or maybe 25 calls came in but didn't get through (I could see the calls coming in on the caller ID, but at the time I didn't know they weren't being accepted by the voice mail). And this is just the first day!

A sign of the economic times?

I think so. The job seekers range from the inexperienced to the very experienced in a wide variety of trades . . . calls from laborers, concrete workers, electricians, rough carpenters, finish carpenters, and even administrators and managers to name a few. All applying for this entry-level sheet metal job!

This tells me that the job market is getting very tight here . . . I live in the Los Angeles area. Right now I've got tons of work for my little company, and that's why I'm hiring. But the future? For my business, short term is very bright, but the long term . . . I'm not so sure now. This episode . . . the response to this ad . . . shocked me. OMG . . . all these experienced, skilled people looking for ANY kind of work, just in my little microcosm? Yes, I've heard the news reports. But being overwhelmed with work myself, I had no idea. Kind of scary. Not sure what to think. Leaves me waiting for the other shoe to drop.

What's the economic outlook in YOUR area? The same? Different?

---- Hugh

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