Tracking the Target layoffs

Back in the commercial radio days, when radio stations changed owners, employees were always told “there’ll be no changes in staff or programming,” a declaration which was soon followed by firings and a change of programming. That’s just the way it is. Take assurances with a grain of salt.

Make of that what you will in present company, but Gov. Mark Dayton took to the bank the Target CEO’s assurance that there’ll always be a big Target presence in Minneapolis. Who knows whether its plan to be more of a local grocery store and online source for stuff will work? The economy is changing and there are no guarantees.

“I got strong reassurance that was their intent and the case, and they never considered anything else,” Dayton said.

What we do know is people will start walking out of the headquarters with boxes this week and it’s already starting (Update: 3,100 positions eliminated, 1,700 layoffs).

About a dozen “upper managers” were gone by lunch yesterday, according to one report.

“The mood is pretty somber, about what you would expect,” an employee tells the Star Tribune. That’s one of the few employees who’s dared speak to the media since the CEO went to New York last week to blame them for the firm’s woes.

The Pioneer Press says the mass layoffs will start today.

A Target employee on one website that tracks layoffs says boxes are already stacked in the hallways.

“A thousand really highly paid positions is a lot for one single state to absorb, given that the population of the Twin Cities metro area is only about three and a half million,” David Vang, a finance professor at University of St. Thomas, tells KARE 11.

He says the ripple effect could be substantial, including a slowdown in home construction and, certainly, a loss of business for Minneapolis restaurants.

Downtown Minneapolis isn’t going to turn into Flint, but one expert utters a familiar theme when jobs disappear in a changing economy.

“Retailers are becoming decentralized,” Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant, tells the Pioneer Press. “I don’t think it’s to such a degree that Target is going to leave the Twin Cities. But they’re not going to need the head count they’ve had in the past — and know that that head count is not going to come back.”

Which makes us wonder: What’s the next big job-creating success story in Minnesota?

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