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.