Layoffs? What, Layoffs?

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Well, for those of you who have been reading my articles about the elusive workers these past few years, there is most definitely change in the air.  I’ve been at this for 24 years, and I’ve seen cycles.  2008-2011 was super horrible, and there have been some blips since, but for the last several years, our economy has been booming. 

Most of our clients seemed to be clamoring for people to hire in response to the intense demand, but now things have been turning around before my eyes, and it’s happening very quickly. 

A word I haven’t heard in years, layoffs, is now being tossed about quite a bit locally. 

This region has a very strong dependence on the semiconductor industry, and we are hearing of layoffs there, as well as across the board in many sectors.  The Wall Street Journal just published an interesting and timely article about how Americans Have Quit Quitting Their Jobs.  This is certainly becoming visible on the ground level, as we are seeing people come to our lobby freshly laid off from a variety of local companies.  

A couple of months back, I wrote an article about ‘what comes up must come down,’ (tinyurl.com/49bcz84a) and we are seeing that play out.  The sky is not falling; we still have many clients seeking help, unemployment numbers are at historic lows (for now), and the business climate is still moving forward, but not at the breakneck pace of the past several years.  

The Federal Government’s position has been to raise interest rates with the hope of staving off inflation, and it seems to be working, but not instantly.  I do fear that they will overreach and continue to raise rates to cool the economy and will overshoot and produce a recession, but let’s hope for the best.  

The variable of consumer confidence is of huge importance, and the fear that is in the air can cause its own world of heartburn, as confidence wanes, so does spending.  We are seeing clients that are ‘holding off’ until they feel more grounded.  They don’t want to overproduce if they fear buyers are becoming slower to buy, thus the domino effect takes place.  

This is all very understandable and somewhat of a predictable response to the current economic climate, but could all be very short-lived and a non-issue in a matter of months, but nobody can predict the future and these economic ebbs and flows happen routinely.  

The long-lasting economic boom over the last 5-8 years, including Covid years, has been a wonderful opportunity for many to make gains in their business and personal wealth, but others have not prospered nearly as well.  The possible downturn I am pointing out could be very troublesome for those who have not stored their nuts and might face layoffs.  

The youthful candidates that we tend to work with have never seen an economic downturn and have only been witness to an employee’s market, where they call the shots, quit at will, knowing they can find a new job in a matter of hours.  This can turn on a dime, and from my perspective, it already is. 

Again, the sky is not falling, but it’s an opportune time to recalibrate expectations and prepare for a possible storm on the horizon.  Being caught flat-footed is not ideal, and I would recommend those on the sidelines might want to land that job sooner than later.  

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