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Uncertain Times – Scott’s Local Employment Update

I am often asked by clients and other business owners; “Scott, your business is a leading indicator, how are things going?”

In the past there were very predictable cycles in our business.  We could predict what months would be busier than others, and the pattern of recovery after a recession was somewhat certain.

Not any more!  My answer to those that ask me the “how are things going” question is now more about uncertainty and unpredictability.  While some of my clients are busy, others are not.  While some of my clients are following normal patterns, others are not.  The biggest pattern I am seeing is NO PATTERN!!!

Are companies hiring right now?  The answer is yes, they just aren’t following patterns.  We are seeing demand for customer service employees, and lots of requests for people in finance and accounting positions across all skill levels.  We are seeing requests, believe it or not, for office and support employees.  Interestingly, we are seeing temporary assignments extended beyond projected end dates.

So – here’s what my data, and my experience is telling me now.  The economy is holding its own.  Businesses are uncertain, and therefore only making hiring decisions when absolutely necessary.  While we started to see some real hiring activity increases last Fall and over the Winter, that has leveled off.  Looking forward – my guess is things may start to improve in the late Summer and early Fall.  There is pent up hiring demand now – the trigger just needs to be pulled.

So, how to handle uncertainty?  Temporary help is an answer.  There are plenty of good people ready to work.  I just took a call from a client I haven’t spoken to in years – his bookkeeper just resigned giving him a week and a half notice.   He’s panicked – his first words were – “I’m in a bind, can you help”?  We can, and did – and he will have a great person in his office to bridge a gap for a few weeks until he can figure out how he wants to move forward.  In the meantime his invoices will go out, and his bills will be paid.

Let me know what you’re seeing in your business and I will try and capsulize your responses and include them in my regular updates.


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