Daily Video

February 2, 2009

Economic Breakdown Cripples U.S. Port

The economic slowdown has paralyzed the otherwise busy port of Long Beach, California, where billions of dollars worth of imports and exports used to flow into and out of the country.

Car companies are leasing lots just to stock up their unsold vehicles, storage facilities are stuffed with good that can’t be sold, and truck drivers who used to make $2,000 a week now make $200.

Meanwhile, in China, thousands of textile mills, weavers, finishers, dyers, weavers are closing because as the market contracts here and worldwide, there’s no demand anymore.

This video provides a close up look at how the global economy is affected by the current U.S. recession.


“This is absolutely the worst times I’ve seen since I’ve been in the market 35 years, both from an importing point of view to a manufacturing point of view. The market is horrific.” – Marvin Jacobs, fabric distributor

“It wasn’t a downturn. It was a cliff. OK, we fell off a cliff, in the world.” – George Adams, president, SA Recycling

“We’re a micro-example of what I feel happened in the world. We were working 60 hours a week and sometimes 80 hours a week…In a period of a couple of weeks, people reneged on the orders, canceled the contracts… everything imaginable and possible happened, and literally the business fell off.” – George Adams, president, SA Recycling

“This was a complete collapse of everything we’ve known, and so people are lost.” – Longshoreman

Warm Up Questions

1. What is a port? What happens there? Who works there?

2. How do you think American ports are affected by the struggling economy?

Discussion Questions

1. Did this report surprise you? Why or why not?

2. What was the most interesting information?

3. How did problems in the U.S. housing market end up shutting down factories in China?

4. Make a prediction: what do you think conditions will be like a year from now?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

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