Here are profiles of three Baltimore-area workers who lost their jobs during the past four months.
As a shipyard worker for 33 years, Domenic Trotta is used to layoffs. But it's still painful.
Trotta, 55, of Baltimore, was working in the welding department of Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Baltimore Marine Division at the Sparrows Point shipyard. He got the word Friday: layoff.
"They told me on the telephone," Trotta says. "They couldn't even tell me face to face."
Trotta is married and has a grown daughter who no longer lives at home. His wife works for the state.
His game plan: Layoffs have been common in Trotta's line of work and he knows the ins and outs of the unemployment office far better than he cares to.
He once was laid off for more than two years. A year ago, he was off for about three weeks. So he has a routine.
"I'm going to do it all; I'm going to collect unemployment, look for work and wait until I get called back. It'll be tough [for him and his wife to budget] but we'll just have to cut back."
Trotta believes his misfortune is related to the crisis in the Persian Gulf, and also to the decline in American shipbuilding.
"They told us it was because of Kuwait. Layoffs are common now. It used not to be. They don't build ships any more, they're repairing them. That's what's hurting us."
The week after Thanksgiving was not a good one for Russell E. Miller of Baltimore.
Miller, 48, and his wife, Nancy, have four children: Laura, 22; Ted, 19; Sarah, 14; and Andrew, 11.
Since 1981, Miller had been with Alex. Brown Inc., the Baltimore-based investment services firm, and was a vice president and energy analyst.
Then it happened: On Nov. 28 he was laid off along with 33 other employees.
The cutback, which eliminated Miller's entire department, followed the report a month earlier of a $3.1 million quarterly loss for the company.
"The business tends to be volatile and tends to pay pretty well but in general there are changes. And when there is change it will affect individuals," Miller says.
The victim of another corporate cutback on Wall Street in 1974, Miller says he knows not to take job security for granted. This layoff, so close to the holidays, came at an unfortunate time, but Miller is depending on his faith and more than 20 years of experience in the investment business.
"The Bible says all things work together for good for those who love God and for those who are called according to his purpose," Miller says.
Miller has been on several interviews and hopes to have a new job lined up soon. But the industry is shrinking at the moment and job openings are limited. "I'm just patiently going about, knocking on doors," he says.
His advice to others who have lost jobs: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding," says Miller.
Rick Reid got the bad news on Aug. 28 when he returned from a two-week vacation.
No more job.
Reid, 45, of Baltimore County, was a senior buyer in the mechanical department of AAI Corp. in Cockeysville and had been with the defense company since 1985.
He and his wife, Phyllis, have two children: Jeff, 20, and Kristin, 17.
Reid says his department at AAI was pared from 56 people to 14, and he was not among the survivors.
"There had been small layoffs for a year . . . but we didn't think our department would get hit as drastically as it did," Reid says.
bTC He nevertheless began immediately to contact friends in search of a new position that would match his skills and financial needs. It would take four months of networking in a "devastated" economy, during which time "we just about drained our finances."
Reid says AAI gave only two weeks' severance pay. He also received $215 a month in unemployment compensation, and income from his wife's home day-care business helped out.
In November, Reid underwent emergency surgery; luckily, he had paid the $600 a month needed to keep the family's medical insurance.
On Dec. 3, Reid accepted a new position as a senior mechanical buyer with Environmental Technologies Group Inc. on Taylor Avenue in Towson. He starts Jan. 2.
Of his experience, Reid says, "Don't take anything for granted. People can respect you and appreciate what you do, but the bottom line is, if they're losing money, you can be gone tomorrow."