"Rare" Customer Sighting Reported

I try to talk with at least one manufacturer a week to keep Pavement focused effectively for the industry... This week the equipment manufacturer (for obvious reasons I don't reveal company names or even the equipment) I was trying to reach actually couldn't take my first two calls because he was on the phone with -- get this -- a customer! Yes, he said it was a rare situation that was becoming more and more frequent, so he expressed some optimism. "This is the worst I've seen it since 1991 and 1992 and that downturn took until 1996 or 1997 to get back to where we wanted to be, but we did get back," he says. "Earlier this summer the phones just weren't ringing and there was nothing we could do to get them going. I even called the phone company to make sure the lines were still working." But that doesn't mean the company wasn't making any sales. "This will give you a hint at what's happening out there: For more than a year we had 15 pieces of used equipment we were trying to move and we just couldn't sell them. Then, earlier this year we sold all but one in two weeks." He says the company for the first time had to lay off employees but hoped to begin hiring in the fourth quarter.