Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good News from the Chapman Economic Forecasters

I attended the Chapman Economic Forecast Update yesterday and heard some very interesting news. Overall, the Chapman team predicted an upward trend in the economy starting at third and fourth quarter of 2009! They knew they were the minority in the Economist community, but they were in the minority when they forecast the current "Great Recession" 18 months ago! Overall, they've had very good track record on their forecasts over its 32 year history.

Their forecast included a positive GDP starting the third quarter of this year, and an expectation that GDP will continue to grow, but at a slower pace, starting first quarter of 2010. That's good news, though not great. It'll take time for us to return to the same levels as 2006. This shouldn't be a great surprise as companies and consumers are a bit "gun shy" with their spending and investment.

For Orange County, they predicted payroll jobs will continue to see a NEGATIVE growth until the start of 2010. What they meant was that Orange County, like the rest of California, will continue to loose jobs, but at a slower rate. Job growth won't really come until sometime in 2010. This makes sense. After all, if the economy begins to bounce back starting the third quarter of 2009, companies won't hire until they're certain the change will last a few quarters. This is especially true, given most companies have become risk-averse.

This may sound like bad news. I don't see it that way. What it means for the unemployed is that if they have any experience in increasing productivity and efficacy, they would be highly prized and sought out. After all, likely many company CEOs took the additional precautionary step of reducing their workforce by more than what was immediately necessary in order to reduce fears of layoffs for the remaining staff. As a result, they're short-handed and need to find ways to increase productivity to remain competitive as the economy rebounds.

So, my suggestion to you, if you're in the job market or expect to be soon, make sure you document any initiatives where you increased a company's team productivity, efficiency and efficacy. Be sure to follow the "problem, solution, result" formula to demonstrate how your work in fact helped the company bottom line and increased profitability.