Odds are pretty good that at least a few of you reading this publication are, unfortunately, not working right now.
This “great recession” has affected almost all segments of the economy, but it seems construction has been hit particularly hard. Unemployment for construction workers sits at about 25 percent nationwide and in some regions, it’s much higher. Some sheet metal workers have told me local unemployment rates for their trade are close to 50 percent.
Those all-too-common statistics and stories are why I was interested in what out-of-work Indiana sheet metal worker George Pfister was up to. The 52-year-old e-mailed me some time ago about the standing-seam metal roof he was erecting on his Terre Haute home.
Pfister told me he figured it was a great way to stay busy and keep his sheet metal skills in use. For the last five years, he had been stockpiling leftover roof panels from projects in which he had participated.
The layoff was a chance to finally use them, he told me.
“With the slowdown, it’s like it’s now or never,” Pfister said.
I was impressed with his determination and positive attitude at a time when many people would be depressed and as you’ll see in the story that starts on page 6, the new roof looks good, too.
Talking to Pfister reminded me of just how many interesting people I’ve interviewed at Snips. I’ve talked to or heard about sheet metal workers who write novels, hold doctorates, sing about their trade or fought city hall for the right to display a tin man.
And this is a good time to remind readers that whether you’re laid off or lucky enough to still be working, I’m always interested in what you’re doing. And if you have an unusual or offbeat story, I’d like to hear about that as well.
'Tis the seasonAs Snips columnist Ruth King notes this month, for contractors in much of the country, this should be the busiest time of the year - or close to it. As I write this column, temperatures have been in the mid-90s for several days in Michigan with humidity levels nearly as high.
So how are you faring? Are businesses and homeowners willing to pay almost any price to ensure they stay comfortable in their homes or offices? Or are some people ready to sweat it out - perhaps literally - with an underperforming HVAC unit or taking the cheap fix when a new system is really required?
Feel free to let me know.