Monday, September 18, 2006

Economic Outlook -- Cloudy Skies

Three surveys released in the past week reveal a slowing in the U.S. economy.

CEO Economic Outlook Survey

This survey reveals that the pace of growth in the U.S. economy is slowing, but is still positive. The survey's key findings for the next six months include the following question of Chief Executive Officers:

"How do you expect your company's U.S. employment to change in the next six months?"
Basically, just as many companies will be hiring as will be firing workers over the next six months.

The CEO Economic Outlook Survey is conducted by the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading corporations with a combined workforce of more than 10 million employees.

Vistage Confidence Index

This survey reveals the least favorable outlook recorded in the three years of the Index.

"CEOs are already beginning to modestly scale back their plans for future growth of their businesses, as they expect to reduce the pace of investment spending and add slightly fewer new employees during the year ahead."

The Vistage Confidence Index is a compilation of responses from nearly 2,000 CEOs of small- to mid-sized companies. This sector creates 75 percent of all new jobs and generates 50 percent of all national revenue.

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

This survey is the least pessimistic of the three. It reveals that for the remainder of the year 28% of 14,000 U.S. employers expect to add to their payrolls, while 8% expect to reduce staff levels.

"Employers in most major labor markets expect to hire in the fourth quarter at a pace equal to, or stronger than, the same period last year, casting a bit of doubt on popular public sentiment of gloomy days ahead."

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter.

Your Strategy

While not a time for panic, it may be a time for prudence.

If you are happy where you are, do your best to make sure you are adding genuine value to your organization and pay close attention to your organization's sales performance and growth prospects.

If you see storm clouds on the horizon at your current employer or are actively seeking employment (or employment elsewhere), then now may be the time to step up the pace and focus your energies on creating a new future.

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