State of the Job Market
Not surprisingly, President Obama’s Tuesday night State of the Union address focused heavily on the economy and, more specifically, job creation. The job market certainly appears to be poised for a comeback. Planned layoffs have fallen to the lowest levels since 2000 and hiring is slowly picking up steam. However, the job gains have been too small to make any discernable dent in unemployment, so many are still waiting for the catalyst that will re-ignite accelerated and larger increases in hiring. The question is: can Washington policies, whether they come from the Left or the Right, provide that catalyst? It is well known that American companies are sitting on large sums of cash saved from two years of significant cost-cutting, yet they appear to be reluctant to start spending it. That may change this year amid rising demand. In a recent survey of CEOs from the nation’s largest employers, 80 percent expect their company’s sales to increase over the next six months, and 45 percent expected to add employees, which is the highest hiring level in records going back to the fourth quarter of 2002. What, if any, government policies will have the most impact on job creation? Will more stimulus spending or federal spending cuts be more effective in spurring employment growth? What will compel American companies to start spending their accumulated savings and will that spending be on additional workers or something else?
Will Heavy Pharmaceutical Cuts Continue in 2011?
Abbott Laboratories announced a restructuring this morning that will cost the Chicago-based pharmaceutical company 1,900 jobs. The company blamed difficult regulatory conditions for the need to reduce expenses that will save the company $300 million over the next several years. The pharmaceutical industry came off a challenging year in 2010, as companies in the industry announced 53,636 job cuts, the second highest industry total of the year and the second largest job-cut year for the sector on record. Are today’s Abbott cuts an indication that heavy downsizing will continue for the pharmaceutical sector in 2011? Even as other areas in the health care sector thrive amid increased demand for products and services, why does the pharmaceutical industry appear to be losing ground? What other areas of the economy are at risk in 2011? What areas are positioned to achieve growth?