Earlier this week, I came across a discussion where the author stated, “something You Should Know: Job losses are probably permanent” Building on this, the M&A consultant stated there will be an, ‘…increase the number of people trying to buy businesses and drive bids up.” Certainly his claims were provocative and the resulting premise a little bit challenging for me to accept.
Here are the two sources cited in support of the ‘buy businesses’ claim:
These largely struck me as stereotypical media talking heads mush. For instance:
“…I think the unemployment rate will be permanently higher, or at least higher for the foreseeable future,” said Mark Zandi…” Self contradicting, in the same sentence, doesn’t know.
Want more? Try these:
“…I don’t know if it’s permanently broken or temporarily broken.”
This I agree with, “…Today’s official unemployment numbers hide the extent to which Americans are already…”
“Companies “really have diminished their willingness to hire labor for any production level,” Silvia said. “It’s really a strategic change,” where companies will be keeping fewer employees for any particular level of sales, in good times and bad, he said.” Its too early to really say if there is a strategic change or not. We’re just starting to come out of this recession and grand pronouncements are merely an opportunity for self-inflicted injuries. I do think we are going to see significant change, but the magnitude will take a while to reveal itself. It’s barely been a year since Wall Street’s fall out, yet it appears as segments recover, particularly Wall Street right now, they’re all too ready to go back to prior norms.
“…53.9% of the unemployed — again a record high — and this is a proxy for permanent job loss, in other words, these jobs are not coming back….” Perhaps, but it is still too early to tell. At the least, it seems reasonable to expect reattaining full employment will take awhile. What we think of as full employment will likely be changed. For instance, remember last year? When gas hit $4/gallon, reflective of energy costs in general?
As transportation costs climbed, rather quickly, we started seeing textile and furniture manufacturing (examples) come back to the US; it no longer was economical to ship a couch over from China. As the global economy gets moving again, fuels will once again be in high demand and the economics of offshore labor will change. This change will be reflected in a change of labor demands here domestically.
Another example, I met with a director of IT for a Tier 1 auto supplier recently. They’re in the process of bringing all their IT functions back from India. Dynamics have changed such that offshoring it all to India no longer makes sense–they see doing it domestically as saving millions. And, as Indian labor markets continue maturing, and the increasing demand for scarce labor resources picks up, some previously offshored work will likely be restored domestically.
“The nation will also have a harder time restarting the economy because so many more Americans lack the money they need to buy all the goods and services the economy can produce.” This seems to really challenge your opening premise that based on the cited sources, “This is going to increase the number of people trying to buy businesses and drive bids up.” Can’t say I see anything in either of the author’s own sources that supports the leap of faith proposed.
“clearly we are not seeing the sort of increase in employment that one would normally expect,” said Bartlett.” The US, and other parts of the world, got smacked, hard, this past year. Still recovering from having been smacked-down, everyone’s going to remain a bit hesitant. What defines ‘normal’ these days, anyway?
Whatever form things take, I prefer to try and maintain an educated, balanced perspective. My casual observation this year is that Washington Post tends to lean toward being a naysayer. On the other hand, Kiplinger seems to be more positive. (Just to pick two examples) Stock market, low interest rates, and low energy costs seem to be a positive. In contrast, struggling auto industry and construction (both previously strong industries for leading us out of recessions) look set to struggle for years yet.
I would ask each of you, having read this, what do you think?