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Old 11-21-2007, 12:02 PM
Location: Arizona
909 posts, read 964,841 times
Reputation: 1230


The early 1980's recession was a pretty brutal one. I joined the US Air Force in 1978, and was assigned overseas in the summer of 1980, not returning until June of 1983 so I missed most of the goings-on in the US economy at that time. From the daily news we heard that things were pretty bad, though.

For those of you that lived through that period, how much were you affected by the ecomomic downturn?
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:00 PM
392 posts, read 1,681,413 times
Reputation: 278
I was going to college and was laid off from a retail job.
My husband was laid off from his engineering job with an auto vendor.
My dad took the "golden handshake" from Chrysler. He figured getting his early retirement package was a whole better than waiting around to see if the company was going to tank or not.
My brother, a civil engineer, laid off.
My sister-in-law and architect, laid off.
My sister, a teacher, laid off. It was the end of the baby boom, elementary school enrollments were way down.
My mother-in-law, a real estate broker, no work, no one could buy a house, interest rates were sky high.
I won't even go into all the friends that were either unemployed or barely employed.
My college classes were full of laid off auto workers that had their classes paid for through trade rehabilitation.
It had a huge effect on me and does to this day. I always live small and save figuring the next layoff is out there somewhere. The mind set has served me well. A couple of years ago when the company I worked for outsourced my entire department people around me completely freaked out. I was able to shrug it off and get by very comfortably.
It also made me very liberal politically. I remember Reagan coming to town and waving a newspaper around saying "look at all these jobs!" They weren't jobs, they were ads for head-hunters that would charge you a fee and give you nothing or places willing to hire people with Doctorates for $4 an hour. I remember Nancy Reagan buying new dishes for the White House while we were wondering how we would buy groceries.
I learned to have empathy for people who were facing hard times.
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:26 PM
5,640 posts, read 16,924,254 times
Reputation: 3963
Remember it well. Was between years in college, and desperately needed to save $$ to afford the next year as the loans did not cover everything. Even the fast food places were not hiring. Did telemarketing sales... worst job ever.
Then late 80s, maybe early 90s there was another. DH graduated out of college right into that one. Companies were paying bumpkiss for starting salaries. A few years later they were starting big bucks.... he got ripped off.
And don't get me started on the post 9/11 unemployment where companies around here were hemorrhaging jobs. and the "jobless recovery".
We are working HARD to pay off our mortgage - and we only took out a 15 year fixed. Layoffs are a drag - with luck you survive them without going into mortal debt.
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:43 PM
13,140 posts, read 35,968,549 times
Reputation: 12074
It didn't affect me at all as i joined the navy in 1981-1985 and infact i was first stationed at Norfolk Naval Shipyards working with all the civilians in the Shipyards as Reagan was building his 600 Ship Navy so it was booming in that area but i can't answer for others.....
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Old 11-25-2007, 05:19 PM
73 posts, read 422,711 times
Reputation: 67
I remember the early 80's as being pretty good for me. I was middle twenties, I had some of my better early jobs then...
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Old 11-25-2007, 06:02 PM
Location: Dallas, Texas
3,589 posts, read 2,971,445 times
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I was a small child back then, but I remember things getting ugly. Enrollment dropped at my elementary school because some kids' families moved away. My family had to cut back; my mom was still a SAHM and my dad owned his own business and had saved the big profits he made in the late 1970s so we made it through OK, but not without some significant belt-tightening. Mom offered to go back to work but couldn't find a job until 1985.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:51 PM
6,585 posts, read 22,378,491 times
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I didn't notice it. I graduated from high school in 1981 and went off to college. Dad had a high paying executive job, mother stayed home. Never heard a thing about the economy.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:23 PM
Location: the show-me state
672 posts, read 1,929,175 times
Reputation: 745
I remember the early 80's pretty well. I was working for an automotive parts supplier. Car companies were not doing well, and neither were we. I can remember the "no overtime" policy we had for a pretty good while there. And, although I did admire Reagan, I wasn't too thrilled with his "trickle down economics" speeches. It was a hard time in our history.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:38 AM
Location: Philaburbia
31,152 posts, read 57,274,608 times
Reputation: 52008
I was just out of college in April 1981, and although I found a job immediately, I lost it a few months later to a reorganization within the company. I found another job right away again, but lost that job to downsizing in late 1982.

There were looooong unemployment lines in Northeastern Ohio, where I stood for six months with a boatload of former auto workers, as well as the former employees of companies that supplied the auto plants, and the former employees of the companies where the auto workers spent their money. The unemployment rate then was between 13 and 14 percent, and after my six months on the dole was up, I got an extension because the unemployment rates were so high. Nobody was hiring for anything. The economy in southwest Ohio was a little better at that time, so I moved in order to take a job down there.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:59 AM
3,869 posts, read 7,419,016 times
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I was 13. All of this had no relevance on me. Both my parents worked. I believe my father may have bought his hardware shop from what was once a chain. He and his partner decided to take it over.
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