The news today continues to get worse. More people are losing their jobs. It is reality. And it affects our trade, too.

AT&T is the latest mega-company to announce layoffs. Between Christmas and throughout 2009, 12,000 employees will lose their jobs. Blame it on a changing lifestyle.

People are moving away from landline home phones, a big part of the AT&T foundation, and using cell phones to communicate. And we all know how much competition there is in the cell phone business. Welcome to the real world, AT&T.

There are thousands of soon-to-be unemployed workers who own nice homes and live in nice communities. Many of them are your customers. I bet some of them planned to replace their old furnaces or air conditioners in the next year or two. Now the replacements are not in the tight household budget. Even generous financing and easy terms on loans are not enough to encourage a positive buying decision.

Do you despair, lament about the job losses, and long for the “good old days?”

No, you have a business to run. You still go out and make sales presentations despite lower closing rates. You still encourage your employees to offer the best customer service and offer the best solutions. You still believe that there are business opportunities for you, even if you have to repair HVACR equipment rather than replace it.

People like the former AT&T employees still need comfort and efficiency on a limited budget. It is your job to show them how.