During his July Numbers That Matter Live webcast, Plastics News Economics Editor Bill Wood noted that while the U.S. economy as a whole isn't officially in a recession, some industries have been for some time. Health care remains strong, for instance, but demand for home electronics has dropped off.
As recent events involving auto suppliers point out, even within a single industry there can be very different stories.
Lear Corp., a global supplier of automotive seating, is cutting jobs and consolidating manufacturing operations following a second quarter that saw its profits drop 60 percent, Kurt Nagl from our sister paper Crain's Detroit Business writes.
"I feel like we've been, particularly the [auto] supply base, in a recession for two years," Lear CEO Ray Scott said on a call with investors.
So to prepare for further slowdowns, the company is cutting costs now.
But for Toyoda Gosei, a Japan-based maker of plastic and rubber automotive seals and interior parts, it is time to put big money into identifying, hiring and developing workers who can help it adapt to future electric vehicles and autonomous auto technology.
"The company has set the targets of increasing digital talent ... to carry out daily business ... to 270 people by 2025 and 400 people by 2030," Toyoda Gosei said in a July 28 announcement.