As the economy tanks, it’s tough to know where to start covering it. Today’s announcement that Intermedia Arts is closing its gallery and laying off all full-time staff is one example of the human consequences of the recession, and the impact on our community. Last week Neighborhood House announced a 18 percent budget cut, which might play out in various ways. One way: 18 percent of their 75-person staff would be 10-15 people. At Teatro del Pueblo, the doors are staying open but all staff are taking cuts in hours. The Home of the Good Shepherd is closing, due to lack of funds to support its mission of sheltering homeless women. That means another 11 people without jobs. These are just a few examples of the impact of the recession on local non-profits.
Then there is the drumbeat of media news–most recently the Star Tribune’s offer of more “voluntary” buyout packages. Sure, the individual buyouts are voluntary, but the threat of bankruptcy looms over everyone, and the Strib has specified positions where it would welcome volunteers, including metro columnists (think Nick Coleman, Kathy Kersten, James Lileks and CJ) and editorial cartoonists. The buyout memo comes after last week’s cuts at KSTP-TV and continuing media lay-offs across the country.
Nationally, more than half a million jobs disappeared in November, with official unemployment rising to 6.7 percent. Minnesota’s November unemployment figures will be out later this week.
We are working on a story about St. Paul Ford plant workers, laid off until January without pay. We will be telling other stories of local people, companies and organizations hit hard by the recession. If you have a story to share, contact me at email@example.com.