Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009 already a year to forget for Western Europe

This is a sad story but one all too common in the high-paced, super-mobile and border-neutral global economy of today. Dell, one of Ireland's largest employers, is packing its bags and moving to Poland after 18 years in the land of St-Patrick. Over 2000 jobs will be lost directly, and thousands in 'dependent' sectors surely to follow as a result. Limerick City, the centre of Dell's Irish manufacturing operations, will remember this for a long time to be sure.

The move, according to Dell's website, is part of "a series of simplify operations, improve productivity, reduce costs and deliver even higher levels of customer satisfaction." It is part of the company's 3 billion dollar restructuring strategy. As it stands, Poland provides lower labour-costs and a more business friendly environment (i.e. less regulations and lower corporate tax rates.)

In these hard economic times, I have a feeling many other European multinational corporations will be doing much of the same in an effort to remain competitive. With the housing market downturn in Spain and England, the shedding of jobs intensifying, and the German economy (the engine of European economic growth) on the brink of recession, 2009 is already looking like a year to forget for Western Europe.

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