In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so occasionally, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
Harley Davidson was a success story in your "Rust Belt" series, but I understand that their workers were recently given unpaid leave. How do you reconcile this?
City & State:
Question/Comment: You used Harley Davidson as a success story in your "Rust Belt" series, but I understand that their workers were recently given unpaid leave. How do you reconcile this?
Paul Solman: Because the workers still have good-paying jobs. Unpaid leave is pretty standard in manufacturing, which experiences inevitable ups and downs. If there were a lot of unpaid leave, then Harley wouldn't be such a success. But talking to the workers, they seemed pretty happy with the way things have been going for many years. And compared to other U.S. vehicle manufacturers. ... Hey, I'm taking a train back from New York to Boston as I write this, and the guy across from me, one Gerry Heggie, just heard me muttering about Harley-Davidson and showed me an article about the company on page 20 of the Nov. 26 issue of Barron's. The headline reads in part: "Its long-term prospects are bright. No wonder some savvy investors are hopping aboard."