Financial Planning | Legislative / Regulatory

Economic answers in short supply … for now

MoneyJohn McCain and Barack Obama each has his own ideas about how to fix the economy. Come November, one of them is going to get the opportunity.

Until then, the struggles continue.

In a "Twilight Zone"-ish twist to the usual workforce dynamic, workers are struggling to find the right job at the same time that some employers are struggling to find the right workers. That's according to a Robert Half / survey.

“A dual hiring environment seems to be taking shape,” said Robert Half Chairman and CEO Max Messmer. “Job seekers in some fields are competing aggressively for open positions, giving employers the edge in those segments of the hiring market. At the same time, however, companies continue to face a shortage of highly skilled professionals in fields such as technology and accounting. These in-demand workers may not be willing to leave secure positions unless firms extend very attractive job offers.”

The survey also raises some eyebrows (mine, at least) in the recruitment arena. For a while now, we've heard study after study suggest that compensation is not the top factor for today's job-hunters. The Half / CareerBuilder survey, though, finds that 63 percent of potential employees are more likely to negotiate for better pay than they were a year ago. The reason? Higher prices for food, gas, health care and other day-to-day necessities.

Meanwhile, investors continue to smart from the credit crisis, which has dragged on far longer than most people had hoped. Rising prices have played a role on that front as well, reports The Economist.

"Worse still," the article reads, "bank problems create a feedback loop with the rest of the economy. When banks get into difficulty, they restrict their lending. That in turn makes life more difficult for companies and consumers, causing them to cut their spending and making it harder for them to repay their debts. That forces further caution on the banks."

For the optimists among us, economic answers exist. Tom Hood has some great ideas in his posts, "How to survive the economic downturn" and "How to recession-proof your business."

Then again, maybe the next president will cure what ails our economy.

What are the odds?


Bill Sheridan