The Cardinal Crisis
Pakistan Suffers Great Floods...
...While Russians Choke On Toxic Smogs?
Wary Employers Keep Hiring Plans On Hold?
As the transits of Venus and Mars meet up with the Cardinal positions of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto, we continue to witness how these powerful planetary inclinations impress themselves upon the globe.
In this month of August 2010, the Earth is about to arrive at the peak levels of the first phases of the Cardinal Crisis configurations which have been highlighted by astrologers worldwide.
Scottish Astrologer Anne Whitaker provides her insights into the historic conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus.
Meanwhile, my astrometeorological climate forecast sees bone-chilling winter conditions ahead for the northern hemisphere in 2011.
I advise populations living in the northern hemisphere - including Europe and the United States - to make preparations for a stormy, bone-chilling and powerful winter season just ahead. It's going to get colder, icy, and much snowier than normal, according to my astrological calculations.
I also warned of accidents from haste, carelessness and impulse.
If there is any summer to take on the role of over-protective parent and guardian - this is the year.
World transits are that powerful.
Watch and guard over your children.
Be strict, and keep your eyes and ears fixed for anything that sounds like it will involve water. Do not be complacent, or assume normalcy in anything.
Discipline, being sharp, on the ball, can and does save lives.
The position of transiting Jupiter and Uranus conjoined to the unfavorable star Scheat inclines towards danger in the water.
With Uranus also in the mix, things can get out of hand suddenly, very quickly and end badly before anyone has noticed fast enough to safely intervene.
I have warned of this for over a year now, and continue to urge people not to take any chances under the highly unfavorable astronomical climate.
By Amie Ferris-Rotman and Michael Stott
August 6, 2010 -- Moscow, Russia -- Planes were diverted from Moscow airports on Friday after huge peat and forest fires blanketed the capital in acrid smoke, forcing some businesses to close and office workers to wear surgical masks at their desks.
Pollution surged to five times normal levels in the city of 10.5 million, the highest sustained contamination since Russia's worst heatwave in more than a century began a month ago.
Officials urged Muscovites to not venture outdoors.
Credit: Alexander Natruskin/Reuters
"Looking at the overall duration (of the pollution), today's smoke level is the worst yet," said Alexei Popikov, an expert on air quality at Moscow's state-run pollution monitoring agency.
The famous onion domes of St Basil's cathedral were not visible from the other end of Red Square on Friday morning because of the dense smoke.
NASA satellite images showed a 3,000 km-long (1,850 mile) smoke cloud covering European Russia.
The deadliest wildfires in nearly four decades have killed at least 50 people and left thousands homeless as entire villages of wooden houses burned down.
Russia has also announced a temporary ban on grain exports after crops were ravaged.
Despite a huge effort involving 150,000 people fighting fires, authorities appeared to be losing the battle.
A Russian firefighter battles out of control flames near the village of Ryazanovskiy, which has already destroyed a military base and now threatens a nuclear research facility. Up to 2,000 homes have been destroyed and officials say that the 10,000 firefighters may not be enough to battle the blazes. Fifty people have been killed in the fires as Russia endures its most intense heatwave in 180 years.
The size of peat fires burning in the Moscow region almost doubled from 37.5 hectares on Thursday to 65.7 hectares on Friday, the regional branch of the Emergencies Ministry said on its website.
The emergency has prompted the country's enfeebled opposition to complain of poor fire safety readiness and a slow, inefficient government response.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has toured fire-stricken regions promising generous compensation to residents and ordering officials to step up efforts to extinguish the blazes.
The government has warned that the blazes could pose a nuclear threat by releasing into the atmosphere radioactive particles buried in trees and plants from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The smoke will not clear for at least three days, according to Fobos weather agency, which provides forecasts for some of Russia's largest media outlets.
The toxic levels of carbon monoxide is four times the average in Moscow
Moscow temperatures reached 33 Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) on Friday and have touched the high 30s.
A spokeswoman for Russia's biggest airport Domodedovo said 15 planes had been diverted to other airports in Russia after visibility fell to around 400 meters. She said it was up to the crews to decide whether to land.
Russia's aviation authority said at least 60 planes had been diverted to as far away as Ukraine from Moscow's busy airports.
Flights and trains out of Moscow were booked solid as residents tried to flee the smoke.
Employees in offices across Moscow were being sent home as the oppressive, thick smoke filtered into buildings.
The Kremlin Wall is seen here through acidic clouds of thick smog enveloping the city of Moscow, Russia on August 6, 2010.
Credit: Alexander Natruskin/Reuters
A spokesman for Russia's number #1 retailer X5 said all 1,500 staff were ordered home.
"I can smell smoke right here in the office," an employee at a mid-sized Russian bank, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
A trader in another medium-sized bank said smoke had entered the building and that staff had been given permission to leave.
Employees at several businesses which use couriers and on-foot delivery men told Reuters they were reluctant to process small orders on Friday as they did not want to step outside.
"My head aches, I feel nausea and I'm scared for my 83-year-old mother, who feels really bad," said 50-year-old businesswoman Marina Orlova.
Many Muscovites sent their families out of the city to stay at summer residences in the countryside.
Although the smoke affected many of these, residents said air quality was still better because of the lack of vehicle pollution.
The rise in violence is also an inclination of the Cardinal T-Square transits.
It has been my contention that people who have allowed situations to transpire should not force confrontations under the unfavorable astrological transits.
As Jupiter and Uranus conjoin the fixed star Scheat in Pegasus, in accordance with the principles of mundane astrology, there have also been amazing discoveries that involve the high seas.
Whatever emerges is then turned into multiples through Jupiter's expansive vibrations.
This then is forced onto the world's consciousness, a form of "retro-future shock" - for instance, through the rediscovery of "Gorilla Glass", or, with shocking signs such as the birth of a two-headed calf in Egypt.
Underwater Ruins Give Glimpse of Cleopatra
Winter Storms Expose Colonial Merchant Ship Off Coast of North Carolina
British Team Discover Hundreds of Rare Roman Pots Off Italy's Coast
These events, and more, are common under Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions.
This particular conjunction, taking place at the end of tropical Pisces, and the beginning of tropical Aries, signifies multiple discoveries that will continue through 2010 and into 2011.
Scottish Astrologer Anne Whitaker gives her insights into Jupiter/Uranus Conjunctions:
Astrologer Anne Whitaker
By Anne Whitaker, Dipl. M.A. Psych. Astrolog.S
Writing From the Twelfth House
The Jupiter/Uranus in Aries ‘touchpaper’ of 8 June 2010 sets off the complex, resistant but explosive firework of the Jupiter/Saturn/Uranus/Pluto energy field, with peaks in June and July 2010 as the inner planets move through, creating a Grand Cross pattern.
The lunar eclipse late in June at 5 degrees Capricorn, and Mars late in July crossing 0-Libra, powerfully trigger off the conjunction point again:
Click to Enlarge Image
It is probably a fair assumption to make that inner tensions are going to be high for us researchees, as the demands of the old order versus the new battle it out at an inner level, and at an outer level as far as our life circumstances and relationships with others are concerned.
I see the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction as the catalyst in the overall pattern, for breaking down resistance to change and releasing flows of entirely new energy.
It is also vital to remember that we are each tiny sparks in the overall light of our solar system.
So – “as above, so below”.
We can learn a great deal about what to expect personally by observing the turbulence of the world around us geographically, politically, socially, spiritually and scientifically, realizing that we researchees will be manifesting tiny surges of that same overall energy field.
We can see this already. A small personal example will suffice. Ian and I have Mars at 1.5 Cancer/2.5 Capricorn respectively.
When the Icelandic volcano erupted – fire surging through ice! - we were two of the many thousands of air travelers sitting at home gazing mournfully at our luggage instead of flying off on holiday.
On 15th April 2010 we were under the impression we were flying to Devon, England, UK.
On 17th April 2010, we set out in the opposite direction by car to the island of Iona in the Scottish Hebrides.
This total change of goal was not accomplished without a great deal of disappointment, stress, tension and anger (Aries.)
But in the end we let go of all that, and had a really good, refreshing time in a place of great spiritual peace (Pisces.) And drank some very nice wine!
So – watch your anger levels, try not to take it out on those around you (also my advice to myself!), realize that certain circumstances are going to arise which will be outwith your control.
Adapt – fast.
Get used to feeling dazed and somewhat shocked.
Try to free yourself from bonds you know are destructive – if you don’t, life is liable to provide that impetus from the left field…
For my 1997 research, I set a tight observational orb of 4 -7 degrees Aquarius (the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction fell at 5 deg 55 mins Aquarius) – only taking on researchees who had relevant planets, Angles or Nodes between 4-7 degrees, and only noting world events during times when Jupiter, Uranus, Mars, Saturn, Pluto – and, between early April 1999 and January 2002, Neptune – moved through that band.
However, informal contacts subsequently with people whose relevant planets etc had been anywhere from 0 deg to 10 deg Aquarius, but who had still had a disruptive and changeful year, suggested to me that I should set a wider observational orb for the 2010/11 conjunctions.
I have done this: starting watching closely from the end of March 2010, when Jupiter was applying 10 degrees away from Uranus (17 and 27 Pisces respectively), I will declare the project closed in mid-March 2011, when Jupiter will be separating from Uranus by 10 degrees (11 and 0 degrees Aries respectively).
At that point, I will probably have had more than enough of it all – and want to retire from watching Jupiter/Uranus forever!
I am very much aware that the powerfully disruptive Uranus/Pluto square will only be getting into its stride by then.
But there is a specific quality to Jupiter/Uranus times, which I have already defined in earlier articles on this topic, which makes the year from March 2010 - 2011 very much worth watching.
Using this wide orbital range, there have been a string of world events already fitting the Jupiter/Uranus template in combination with Saturn and Pluto since the end of March 2010.
- The death of 96 members of the Polish ruling class in a plane crash
- Political upheavals in Burma
- President Obama’s Health Bill signed into law
- Nuclear missiles reduction treaty between Russia and USA
- Major Chinese earthquake
- Icelandic volcano eruption disrupting world flight traffic at a level never known before
- Huge undersea oil leak after rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico
- Large Hadron Collider worked this time!
- NASA has unveiled stunning images of our Sun from a new satellite designed to predict disruptive solar storms.
- On 27 April there was an announcement that the biggest ever telescope was going to be built in the Atacama Desert to enable us to see farther into the cosmos than we have ever seen before.
- Oh yes, and our greatest living scientist UK’s Stephen Hawking is about to present a TV series advising us on how to go about communicating with aliens….in a word, don’t!…
Keep those seat belts buckled.
The wild ride has just begun!
By Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S
The sister planet of the Earth will enter tropical Scorpio on September 8, 2010 - the same day Saturn turns south in declination in the early degrees of Libra.
Venus will shift from evening star phase, setting after the Sun, to a new phase - morning star - rising ahead of the Sun.
Look for Venus to shine brilliantly in the predawn skies during the late autumn months, and through the winter months of 2011 in the northern hemisphere.
Jupiter and Uranus will have re-entered tropical Aries officially between January-March 2011 - opening up the new decade under a waning Saturn/Pluto cycle which extends through to January 2020.
The planet will appear to move backward across the tropical zodiac from views on the Earth.
After several weeks of retrograde motion, Venus will station direct on November 18, 2010 at 27-Libra, and then resume its motion forward, and back into tropical Scorpio.
Personal Relationships are highlighted - especially after the events over the first phase of the cardinal crisis world transits.
The transit of Venus in the Eighth Mundane House of Scorpio highlights shared finances, marriages, sex, passion, and aesthetics as well. Its nature is fixed, its quality that of Water, and has power over the heart's emotional nature.
A Venus morning star cycle looks forward. It prepares for a new time in life.
This retrograde and phase change of Venus to the Earth, from Venus evening to morning star, places personal relationships directly under the microscope.
Personal & social relationships of all types will take center stage beginning in August 2010 through to January 2011.
Those relationships that do not pass the test will come to an end. Relationships which do pass will go forward into the new astrological year of 2011.
It must take place. Any attempt to stall, or to stop it will lead to failure.
Everything appears to be put on hold. That is the way things sometimes go in personal human relations.
Moreover, coming immediately after the tense months of the Cardinal crisis transits, it is best to allow matters to cool down rather than to harp, dwell, or push matters.
Sometimes the best strategy is none at all. Simply allow nature to take its course.
Venus' time in Scorpio/Libra during retrograde may feel and sound a bit like this:
The climate is not a total Indian summer per se. By October, and into November it turns wet, windy, and colder, with dense fogs at times.
A classic "London fog" autumn season with rich foliage of colors is just ahead.
The economic crisis has caused a serious disruption in the relationship scheme of things.
Marriages have been delayed since 2008, because of a lack of resources and uncertainty about the economic future.
Couples who are remain together at this time may find the months from August 2010- January 2011 to be emotionally challenging if they are not aware of the astrological inclinations.
Mars in Scorpio has a bad habit of seeing things that are not real, of finding suspicion where there is none.
The insight and penetration of Mars in Scorpio into many matters is excellent; however, the down side to this natural detective is to view most things from its own lens of suspicion - not realizing that it is their own behavior being observed and judged.
This will determine the outcome of many relationships in the months ahead.
Individuals who have proven unreliable are apt to be replaced as partners. Some friendships which may have been important in the past also end as well.
It is just that time to move on. It happens.
What these transits show over this particular cycle is a need for safety and greater stability in any desired relationship - a reliable partner - perhaps a husband, or a wife.
By taking a mentally emotional approach to that which is felt passionately, one is able to then create the desired outcome. If it is natural, and not forced.
It is important to communicate honestly with one's potential partner. Their responses and behaviors will say more about the success or failure of the proposed commitment to come.
Saturn turns whatever thought-forms it touches into reality. Therefore, any personal commitment, for it to gain significant currency and materialize into physical form, must be balanced, fair, pleasing and just. Libra demands this, and Venus rules Libra.
The unfavorable inclinations of Venus retrograde in Scorpio can indicate females who lie, cheat and steal in order to manipulate situations in their favor. This usually emanates from envy or jealousy.
Manipulation has always been a part of Scorpio's nature.
But, there is positive manipulation and negative manipulation, this is naturally part of Scorpio's octaves that it operates on.
If one chooses to manipulate dishonestly to cut corners, and take shortcuts, under the inclinations of the additional planetary influences, know that things will not turned out as planned.
Matters will be made worse.
Cheating, lying, negative manipulations, dramas, gossip, etc., easily backfire because the retrograde cycle ends in Libra, and Saturn in Libra will crystallize any of the negative acts into the physical reality of the situation.
This then becomes exposed by Venus' direct motion in Libra, and re-entry back into tropical Scorpio.
Remember that Jupiter turns direct on November 18. Venus, the Lesser Benefic, turns direct the same day as Jupiter, the Greater Benefic.
Maladaptive behaviors, intrigues, and acts prior to this - under the Venus retrograde period - will fail miserably going forward.
So honesty is the best policy.
Any negative manipulations under Scorpio's passions to possess something, or someone, or to cause problems via dramas, gossip, envy, jealousies, desires, anger, etc., among individuals who are involved with one another, will only burn bridges one will later wish were not burned. So, leave well enough alone.
Forewarned is foretold.
The emotional nature, in the fixed waters of Scorpio, can also become distorted and confused, forcing situations too fast when prudence would have easily been the best and safest course.
Should the person pass the test of patience, and honesty, then the relationship can resume and grow into a serious commitment, and in some cases, marriage.
The spring of 2011 shows a rush to wedding ceremonies. Many couples who tie the knot in May & June 2011 will be those who have waited three years to marry because of the severe economic downturn.
The Venus transit, and retrograde in Scorpio/Libra will be the final test of committed relationships which have the potential to lead to the altar.
The transits of the autumn season in the northern hemisphere may be a little weird. Keen observers may notice irrational emotional behaviors in society-at-large during the retrograde cycle of Venus in Scorpio.
It is best to remain cool, objective, and to keep distance away from strange characters who appear to mental and emotionally unbalanced.
Along with the transit of Mars in Scorpio and through Sagittarius from September through December, irrational behaviors mixed with intense passions can get out of hand if not carefully balanced with patience and prudence.
During the Venus retrograde, it is best to avoid confrontations with emotionally unstable individuals. Again, calmly observe any signs of irrational behavior. Caution is advised.
The air will clear by then, and you should feel much more comfortable in announcing your intentions just as the Sun enters Capricorn, about four days before Christmas.
Then, you will be on your way.
As a astrometeorologist who forecasts long-range weather and climate, I often must scan months and years in advance to determine the planetary configurations as they relate to the world's weather.
This follows my prior forecasts of "extremes of weather" that sees the climate stretch from one extreme of the weather spectrum to the other.
Four years ago, in 2006, I forecasted the arrival of El Nino in the Pacific Ocean to dominate the latter half of 2009, and first half of 2010.
Then El Nino would quickly fade during the second half of 2010, and be immediately followed by cooler waters in the Pacific.
This is called La Nina. I have forecasted this climate event to dominate late 2010 and the first half of 2011.
Climatologists and meteorologists are now seeing La Nina conditions build, as forecasted astrologically several years ago for this year and next.
The Sun, Moon, and planets of the solar system cause the climate conditions on Earth to change by their mathematical and electromagnetic configurations.
Saturn's role as its transits configure relative to the Earth, bring moist and cold conditions. Libra, as an air sign will see Saturn's effect here through very cold temperatures.
It will be the freezing air that will be the main problem, and along with it, Saturn's penchant to bring along with it moist conditions that indicate heavier than normal amounts of snow and ice.
We can see Saturn's role already impacting parts of the globe in July & August 2010 throughout the southern hemisphere. Consider the deadly colder-than-normal temperatures which has plagued this region of the world.
See - Peru Declares State Of Emergency With Coldest Temperatures On Record.
Also - Cold Temperatures Cause Death, Damage In South America.
According to my calculations, I expect a colder-than-normal winter season, which will arrive later than normal for most of the United States and Europe at the end of January/early February 2011.
I would advise those reading this to prepare early for the winter of 2011. The air will be very cold, and the conditions lean towards heavy snows, and ice.
In the Pacific Northwest, I expect La Nina to make an earlier impact than for the rest of the U.S., bringing with it windy, wet, snowy, icy and freezing winter conditions, according to my astronomical calculations.
Residents who live in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, stretching to cities like San Fransisco and regions of northern California, would be wise to get a head start on their fall 2010 and winter 2011 preparations.
My astrological climate forecast says it's going to get wetter, windier, and colder than normal in the months to come.
NOAA made the announcement Thursday in regards to its forecast update to the Atlantic Hurricane season, but for the Pacific Northwest, where hurricanes might as well be Bigfoot, we pay attention for different reasons.
La Nina is the term for the phenomenon where ocean waters cool in the equatorial region of Pacific Ocean. It's part of an oscillation with El Nino, which is when the waters warm.
Both have great, but opposite, effects on worldwide climate.
For the Pacific Northwest, La Ninas tend to bring cooler and wetter than normal conditions for autumn and winter.
It doesn't necessarily mean a big, snowy winter (although 2008-09 was a La Nina winter) just that the odds of bringing cold and wet together at the same time are higher.
But La Nina winters are typically big mountain snow-pack winters, so ski resorts should fare pretty well if climate standards hold.
On the other hand, this does present greater risks for the Green River Valley and other river flood-prone areas. Last winter's El Nino played true to form of being warm and dry (remember our warm January?), and thus we never really had any kind of flooding.
That could change this winter. So those who live in the flood plains, don't let your guard down.
Scientists still aren't really sure yet what causes this back-and-forth tug of war between La Nina and El Nino, officially known as the "El Nino-Southern Oscillation" or ENSO, only that it repeats every 3-7 years, but rarely in the same way.
An average ENSO will probably see an El Nino winter, then perhaps 1-2 years of "neutral conditions" before a drift into La Nina for a winter, then reverse to El Nino over another few years.
However, this year's shift was quite rapid. In fact, we blew right through the neutral stage, radically shifting from El Nino to La Nina in just the course of a few months this summer.
You can take a peek at this ENSO chart that shows El Nino and La Nina conditions since 1950.
If the three-month running average temperature in the part of the Pacific where this happens is 0.5C degrees or warmer than normal, then it's considered El Nino conditions. 0.5C or colder is La Nina.
Anything in between is neutral. This chart has not yet been updated for August, but I'm guessing that number came out today at -0.5C or so and thus the La Nina declaration.
The chart shows there have been some years with quick turn-rounds -- 1973 (very wet Nov-Jan, cool Nov and Jan), 1988 (quite wet / avg temps) and 1998 (*very* wet Nov-Feb) come to mind.
Most quick turn-arounds seemed to usher in a long La Nina pattern so we'll see how this goes.
August 5, 2010 -- Lexington, Kentucky - Anyone puzzled by the reluctance of U.S. companies to hire workers in the midst of what looks like a business-led recovery needs to talk to Robert Harvell.
With more than 30 years in the excavator-making business and six recessions under his belt, Harvell, the chief executive of LBX Company, thought he knew what to expect when he saw signs in late 2006 that another downturn was coming.
He was wrong.
So now, like a lot of manufacturing executives surprised by the downturn's speed and severity, he is being extra cautious, especially when it comes to expanding his pared-down payroll.
Signs of how wary U.S. employers are to hire again are expected with Friday's release of payroll figures for July.
Like Harvell, many executives worry the current recovery will prove as unpredictable as the recession that preceded it.
"I am embarrassed to say that we anticipated a softer landing and a speedier recovery than what we've seen," he told Reuters this week. "But then everything began to implode."
The U.S. economy has posted four consecutive quarters of growth.
Yet the unemployment rate remains close to 10 percent, in part, because companies are holding the line on hiring.
Their wariness is impacting the U.S. economy, weighing on consumer confidence and making President Barack Obama's economic stewardship a top issue in November's mid-term elections that could tip the balance of power in Washington.
If that sounds like a lot of responsibility to lay at the feet of the folks who run America's factories.
Consider this: while manufacturers account for only about 12 percent of U.S. GDP, they handed out 25 percent of the 8 million pink slips generated during the downturn.
Last year alone, the sector shed 11.4 percent of its workforce -- the largest one-year percentage drop in manufacturing employment since the Great Depression, dwarfing even the 10.4 percent drop seen in 1945, when America's victorious industrial war machine throttled back production.
Manufacturers are now moving far more slowly to bring workers back. As of June, industrial firms had hired back fewer than 10 percent of more than 2 million workers they laid off during the downturn, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.
Another contributing factor to the paralysis in payrolls: Many manufacturers used the downturn to speed up efforts to restructure, streamline operations and slash costs.
"We looked at the P&L and said 'How do we attack each line, and make it more robust, more productive and cut the waste out of it?'" said Chuck Evans, a top executive at Henkel Corp's U.S. automotive business.
"Painstakingly and line by line, we made the organization reinvent itself."
This recovery, in other words, could be as different from past pickups as the recent downturn was from recessions past.
'NOT LIKE ANYTHING WE'VE SEEN'
In the early stages of what turned out to the deepest U.S. downturn since the 1930s, LBX did what it usually did: reduce headcount through attrition and cutting back inventory.
A 17 percent fall in business in 2007 was followed by a 28 percent slump in 2008 and a 48 percent crash in 2009.
In December 2008, LBX -- which co-designs its Link-Belt brand excavators with parent company Sumitomo Heavy Industries and adapts them for North America -- decided on a one-time layoff that cut staff to a core team of 80 from 100.
"We could not let any of that core team go because everyone here performs multiple functions," Harvell said. "Also, most of our people have 20 years or more experience and replacing them would not be easy. We couldn't let those people go."
LBX figured its core team could handle up to a 30 percent increase in demand before it needed to expand its workforce.
So far, LBX's sector is only up about 5 percent this year. Harvell expects demand could rise 15 percent next year but even then he may not start hiring before the end of 2011.
"This is not like any recovery we've ever seen," he said. "And the credit markets are still constrained. We are seeing some bright spots out there and it's going to get better, but we're not ready yet to expand."
PLANTS YES, PEOPLE NO?
It's not that manufacturers aren't hiring. Employment in the sector is up for six straight months now, the BLS says.
But U.S. factories have only brought back 136,000 of the 2.2 million workers they laid off between December 2007, when the recession officially began, and December 2009, when they stopped cutting and started cautiously hiring again.
That pattern shows up across the economy. The jobless rate peaked in October 2009, just a couple of months after economic growth resumed.
That was a much quicker turnaround than the so-called "jobless recoveries" following the 1991 and 2001 recession, when unemployment finally peaked more than a year after the downturn ended.
But private hiring has been so tepid -- averaging slightly more than 100,000 a month so far this year -- that at this rate it would take more than six years to replace the jobs lost during the recession.
Caterpillar Inc, the Peoria, Illinois-based maker of construction and mining equipment, provides a particularly dramatic example of the manufacturing sector's wary response to the rebound.
When its sales took their largest one-year tumble since the 1930s, dropping 37 percent to $32.4 billion in 2009, it laid off nearly 30,000 workers worldwide, 19,000 of them full-time.
In 2010, sales have rebounded smartly and are expected to end the year somewhere between $39 billion and $42 billion -- roughly halfway back to 2008's all-time record sales levels.
Yet Caterpillar has rehired fewer than 20 percent of the full-time workers it laid off -- just 3,600 people worldwide in all. And only a third of those have been in the United States.
That brings the company's total headcount to 97,000, right about where it was back in 2006 when it had sales of $41 billion.
Caterpillar has said it hopes to rehire a total of 9,000 workers this year.
But again, only a third of the promised jobs will be inside the United States as the company continues to align its manufacturing footprint and headcount with its sales, 62 percent of which now come from overseas.
MAKING MORE FOR LESS?
Smaller manufacturers are doing much the same thing.
According to Sageworks, which compiles data on the finances of privately held businesses, they are working hard to lower their break-even points by trimming costs and holding back hiring because they are unsure the recovery has legs.
"They're being defensive," said Sageworks executive Drew White, pointing to payrolls-to-sales ratios.
In 2007, manufacturers, on average, paid out $13.26 in salaries, wages and benefits for every $100 of sales, according to Sageworks.
Since then, the number has fallen -- a function of both shrinking payrolls and reduced compensation -- and so far in 2010, it has dropped to about $9.29 for every $100 in sales, a 30 percent decline in just three years.
White said some of that is due to strategic under staffing by smaller manufacturers, which tend to experience the rebound later than their larger industrial peers.
"The good news is if manufacturing is growing at the bigger companies, it will eventually hit the smaller firms," he said. "And when they do see a comeback in revenue, I think they'll be very quick to hire back."
But much of what's going on is permanent.
Since peaking in 1973 at 18.8 million, U.S. manufacturing employment has fallen pretty steadily, a function of industry's effort to stay competitive by effectively replacing people with machines.
Most economists think less than half the U.S. manufacturing jobs lost over the past two years will ever return -- even if the current recovery gains traction and strength.
Adam Fleck, an industrial analyst at Morningstar, is more optimistic. He doesn't see the sector recreating the nearly 7 million jobs lost over the last 37 years but he thinks it could eventually go back to levels seen before the recession.
"But whether it's next year or the year after that or at the top of the next cycle," he said, "it's hard to say."