The rumor mill is in top gear this month with some in the blogosphere warning of a coming double-dip recession. While the jury is still out on that, Ben Bernanke's remarks at the Federal Reserve on Friday made it clear that the recovery is moving slowly. The good news is that the Federal Reserve is prepared to step in to provide additional stimulus, if necessary. During his speech, Bernanke noted that despite the "recent slowing" in economic growth, "it is reasonable to expect some pickup in growth in 2011 and in subsequent years."
So we can't expect the economy to recover overnight, I get it. I think some of us probably hoped it would, with the stock market and retail sales bouncing back tremendously at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010, but our hopes were dashed. Mr. Bernanke did make some promising arguments, though, for example the personal savings rate is much higher than it has been for multiple quarters, and household wealth-to-income ratios are getting back to their historical norms. He says that "Stronger household finances, rising incomes, and some easing of credit conditions will provide the basis for more-rapid growth in household spending next year."
Bernanke's words were soothing to investors' ears (the DOW is up over 150 points!) but what I personally find interesting is how self-fulfilling economic outlooks can be. If the public is convinced that there will be a double-dip recession, they will reign in their spending and save it instead. But, guess what should happen? People need to start believing things can get better before they will, and any change in public opinion has to start on the ground floor.
Luckily iCIMS is up to the task. We have a lot to be proud of--we've managed to grow rapidly, even during these tough few years. Just recently we made the INC 500l5000 list of the fastest growing companies for the fifth year in a row, so people are clearly still hiring. If a company which depends entirely on the creation of jobs can thrive, it's time to start believing.
Take it from Bernanke or take it from me, things will get better.
In just the first three months of 2010, the world has seen many changes, with some even bigger happenings to come. What should we expect? Will Google pull out of China? Will we pass universal health care? Will this recession ever end? Signs point to yes.
Back in November, a colleague and friend of mine, Jennifer Sekerka, blogged about the pending recovery. She listed the stock market, retail sales, and shipping volume as hopeful indicators. Now, four months later, let's take another look at where we stand:
- The stock market is even stronger. Holding at 10,000 back then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average now has eyes on the 11,000 mark. It may be a while before we cross it, but most analysts expect it to happen this year. Almost 8% gained in 4 months. That is great.
- Retail sales were much higher in November and December than now, but they're supposed to be! Holiday sales were mostly flat, as expected, but that's better than a decline! Have we hit the bottom? Several retail bellwethers seem to think so.
- Shipping volume is harder to get statistics on, but it seems as though, according to UPS, the shipping business is on the mend as well (maybe it's because people are fed up with airline baggage fees?)
I think most people expect that things are going to get better soon. The question for quite some time has been when, not if. Here's why I think the time has come: unemployment has held steady For the past 2 months unemployment has held steady at 9.7% and it is expected to hold steady again in March before beginning a decline. What's important about this is that unemployment has not held steady or declined for 2 straight months since March of 2007 (click here). If you weren’t preparing for the recovery in November, you might want to start now.
What should you do to prepare? You're reading the iBlog, so you know that I'm going to suggest that you check out some of our great resources. Four months ago, Jennifer recommended our "Post-Recession and Seasonal HR Practices" webinar, and that's still a great place to start. You can find that on our Resource Center. If you want more, there are plenty of other resources available, including white papers, articles, webcasts and much more.
With reports of optimism and a Q3 profit gain, the U.S. Commerce Department is letting policy makers know that it’s time to start planning for the recovery. While the government is busy planning its post-recession procedures, companies across the nation are gearing up for new types of necessary HR practices. And if there’s one sector that’s all too familiar with hiring surges and alternative hiring pools, it’s the retail industry. With the holiday season quickly approaching, the retail industry is preparing for yet another year of seasonal hiring. From an increase in hourly hiring to utilizing alternate forms of recruiting, the retail industry serves as a microcosm for what the rest of the nation can expect for hiring practices in 2010 and beyond.
But with unemployment still on the rise (but increasing at it’s lowest pace yet!) someone forgot to tell the job (and housing) market that the recession is over. However, it’s never too early to begin planning for the recovery. Every year, the retail industry slows down for nine months, a full two-thirds of the year. In a way, retail experiences a mini-recession every year (with a Presidents Day Sale here and a Back-to-School, One-Day Sale there). Yet as the last days of summer come to a close, managers and recruiters are readying themselves and their staffs. They know that in order to have an efficient and prepared staff for the holiday months, they have to begin planning before the rush. Creating a talent pipeline and hiring the most qualified candidates well in advance, while the applicant pool is still full of top talent, is essential. The extra staff must be trained and familiarized with the ways that stores are run so they can be effective sales people when Black Friday rolls around and the holiday buying-season officially begins.
Now you’re probably wondering, “How can I possibly ready myself for a hiring rush, when I have all this shopping to do?” Fortunately, iCIMS is presenting a webinar on just such a topic (blatant self promotion, I know). The webinar, Post Recession & Seasonal HR Practices will consist of a panel discussion offering best practices from retail industry leaders. The webinar takes places next Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 at 1:00 pm EST. To register for the webinar, you can click here.
Is your organization doing anything to prepare for the economic recovery? What does your 2010 outlook look like?