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BY Joel Junker

The Cameron-Brooks JMO and the Current State of the Economy

If you have the opportunity to follow economic news, you know that it has been quite a dramatic couple of weeks with ups and downs in the stock market, concerns about the Greek financial situation, 290,000 jobs created in April (largest increase since 2008) which followed an increase of a total of 121,000 jobs created in the previous two months, and the unemployment rate increasing from 9.7% to 9.9%.

What does all this mean and more importantly how does this affect a Cameron-Brooks JMO making a transition to business?

1.  The unemployment rate increase is actually a good thing.  That’s correct, a good thing.  The government does not count people who are unemployed but not actively searching for employment as “unemployed”.  The increase from 9.7% to 9.9% unemployment is due to more people confident in the growth of the US economy and job availability, moving from the sidelines to become active job seekers and therefore now being counted in the unemployment numbers.  On May 8, 2010, in the Wall Street Journal article, “Job Gains Speed Up And More Seek Work,” Julia Coronado, a BNP Paribas (a global banking and financial services company) analyst was quoted as saying, “People are encouraged to come back in the labor force and start looking for jobs.  It’s good that they are not discouraged anymore.”  Yes, the unemployment rate is high, though the recent uptick is another positive sign as it demonstrates that more people are confident the economy is back on track.

2.  Companies have become more aggressive in growth plans.  With renewed business confidence, companies who had put facility expansions, new store openings, new product launches and other initiatives on hold during the recession have now taken steps to activate those initiatives.  This is creating a need for more people, especially leaders, to get the strategic efforts implemented.  At the April Conference, we had several clients hiring due to new initiatives.  One medical device client was launching a new cardiovascular repair surgical device, a world leading consumer products company started implementing Total Productive Maintenance and wanted JMOs who could lead change to implement this, and another company designed a new method to automate the shovel system on mining vehicles and needed a project manager to lead the effort to bring it to market. 

3.  According to the May 8, 2010 Wall Street Journal article referenced earlier, the strong majority of the job gains in April came from the private (not government) sector.  Additionally, the increased jobs came from a broad range of industries.  Even during the recession from December 2007 to December 2009, Cameron-Brooks continued to have opportunities representing a wide variety of companies and industries.  At the April 2010 Conference we had companies that ranged in size from 150 to over 120,000 employees, privately held and publicly traded companies, and representation from numerous industries including alternative energy (solar power), food and beverage companies, consumer and commercial banking, medical device, global management consulting, e-commerce, biopharmaceutical manufacturing and more.  Whereas the impression was that the government “carried the economy” in 2009, the government certainly cannot make that claim with the recent increase in jobs in the last 3 months.

4.  The wild swings of the stock market are not necessarily an indication of, nor do they show correlation with the broader economy and employment market.  It is true that the Greek, and potentially other European countries’, debt crisis is impacting the stock market and banks’ confidence in lending to one another.  From the same Wall Street Journal article referenced previously, Alan Levenson, an economist from T. Rowe Price Associates, states, “We’re on more solid ground after these data than we thought we were.  That should reduce, at least at the margins, the concerns one might have had of the impact on our economy of what’s going on in Europe.”  It is hard to predict if or how this debt crisis in Europe will affect the broader US economy, but right now, our clients do not mention it.

5.  Cameron-Brooks clients continue to hire for strategic reasons – to implement new business initiatives, to increase productivity, and to upgrade their talent.  During Roger Cameron and René Brooks’ established relationships with companies over approximately 45 years, Cameron-Brooks has experienced numerous economic cycles.  We have learned that our clients, as a whole, continue to recruit strategically in all types of economies because of their need for future leadership.  In addition to this strategic hiring, and the new initiatives and growth previously mentioned, our clients hire JMOs to increase their productivity and upgrade their talent.  When positions become available due to promotions or resignations, companies see Cameron-Brooks as a source for hiring a person who can be productive from the first day and bring the potential for increased responsibility and promotion.  During 2009, the deepest part of the recession, Cameron-Brooks candidates still averaged 8-10 interviews at our Career Conferences; and with resuming economic confidence, that average has increased to approximately 10 interviews.

The bottom line –  if you have the track record of success that demonstrates you can be a top performing leader in business, if you have the desire to be a top performing leader and are willing to prepare for your transition – there are great business career opportunities.

 Joel Junker