Two More Pieces of Positive News

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Signs of an Improving Job Picture

Two bits of news today suggest that the job picture may be improving, a situation that could lead to increased consumer spending on discretionary products this year, possibly even for powersports equipment.

A report in today’s Wall Street Journal indicates that corporations are spending more on raises and bonuses than they have in the recent past as a means to keep their key employees at home. “They are feeling more confident about how 2010 will shake out,” David Smith, an executive with Accenture, told the newspaper. The moves, he said, are an effort to ward off employee poaching by competitors.

Many companies see themselves as vulnerable to raiding, according to the report, because lean staffing during the recession is expected to result in aggressive job hunting by employees as soon as the economy improves. While companies cut or froze pay last year, employers started to reverse this trend in January, reports the WSJ.

In January, according to the Journal, in a survey of nearly 500 HR executives, 15% of the participants said it had become more difficult to keep good employees in U.S. jobs. And 51% said they expect this situation to worsen by January. In most cases, reports the Journal, employers are using cash to keep employees by reinstating raises or paying cash bonuses and rewards.

Meanwhile, the head of Monster Worldwide, Inc., told the Journal that demand for employees is increasing. “It’s across the board, it’s in virtually every segment, every professional or occupational sector, we are seeing increases in demand,” said Sal Iannuzzi, the company’s chairman and CEO. “The mood, the discussion, for our customers is much more positive than it has been. It looks like it’s sustainable.” Bookings at Monster were up 17%, year-over-year, in the first quarter and the company sees 2Q bookings increasing by 15% to 20%, compared to the same period last year.

Granted that 2009 wasn’t much to brag about, but Iannuzi said 1Q, “is the first time in a number of quarters that the numbers have been going in a positive direction that we have reason to believe that improvement is real.”

Okay, these numbers don’t blow the doors off, but I like indicators such as these from the private sector more than I like stats coming out of Washington. And my feeling is that if people are starting to see more cash coming from employers, there’s a good possibility they might start spending some of it in coming months, especially if they’ve been saving and paying down debt. Maybe they’ll even buy a motorcycle. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at
jdelmont@dealernews.com or 952/893-6876.

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