An Unusually Depressing Factory Layoffs Story

Layoffs are always a huge bummer, but this one is really depressing because it exposes multiple levels of US screwed-up-ness.

Evergreen Solar, a maker of solar panels, is closing a Massachusetts factory that employed 800 people.

But it’s not just that it’s a layoff story, and it’s not just that that’s 800 quintessentially new economy jobs going kaput, it’s that the company received $58 million in aid back in 2008.

And beyond that, there’s a China angle — the company says it can’t compete with cheap Chinese solar panels, and we believe them, the cost advantage enjoyed by the Chinese on this front is clearly significant.

So this has it all: Layoffs, the green jobs fallacy, failure to compete globally, and poor government investment choices.

This chart from Wunderlich Securities rings true. The value-added solar jobs will be in China. The US will be good at installing them.

solar energy

Photo: Wunderlich Securities

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