The Greenbrier Companies ($GBX), a manufacturer of railroad and freight cars, missed on earnings early Tuesday morning July 2. EPS fell by 50% year-over-year, and the company is predicting earnings about $10 million below expectations for the year. The market responded by dropping the stock more than 9% pre-market, bringing the shares' decline to 22% on the year.
Meanwhile, the company's hiring trends, much like the company's stock, has taken an interesting turn. Since April, the number of job openings at Greenbrier have been cut by more than two-thirds, or a 67% decrease over two months.
At present, there are 32 job openings at the company, which represents the lowest point in hiring we've seen since first tracking the data in February 2018.
These are also blue collar job openings that are being lost. The majority of positions on Greenbrier's job listings page are for jobs in Production. In other words, these are Welders, General Laborers, Machine Operators, Foremans, Pipe Fitters, and Mechanics.
The dive in stock is similar to that to when the market swung in late 2015, as well as the 2007 recession. In terms of the earlier, longer lasting crash, rail companies were struggling due to the lack of trading and, therefore, the lack of business and need to ship products across the country. Today, several railroad executives and experts have gone on the record to talk about the damage that the trade war has on the railroad industry.
That may be causing the lack of job openings at Greenbrier, as if its competition and customers are feeling the pains of the trade war, that may also be grinding its gears.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.
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