Counselor Commentary: The Job Bandwagon

Are You Ready For This New Normal?

Andy CohenThe U.S. economy received a jolt of good news last week when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. companies added 321,000 jobs to their payrolls in November. The result far exceeded analyst expectations (most consensus estimates had companies adding a total of about 220,000 new positions) and positioned 2014 as the strongest year for job growth in the United States since 1999. Remember Y2K mania? Yeah, it sure does feel like a long time ago.

“The number is almost off the charts, given what we've seen over the past 10 years,” said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at accounting firm CohnReznick. “Companies are making up for hiring that was deferred earlier in the cycle.”

The deeper meaning to all this job growth besides the positive impact it tends to have on consumers and the economy overall is that it signals a seismic shift in the business world. It means that companies are no longer stagnating or just subsisting from year to year on small revenue growth and budget cuts to meet profit goals. Ultimately, it means that U.S. firms are planning for real growth. They’re willing to create new fixed costs and invest in their futures because they’re expecting that immediate future to bring new sales and revenue opportunities.

Are you ready for this new normal? Is your company staffed to meet rising demand and exceed the expectations of customers who know they have options in the market today? It better be, because other competitors certainly are. With the job gains experienced in 2014, it’s clear that companies in all industries – including the ad specialty market – are adding positions in an effort to capitalize on new opportunities.

There are certainly distributors and suppliers in this industry that have new salespeople on the street calling on clients, new customer service reps to deal with growing customer ranks, and new warehouse workers to fulfill an increase in orders. Growth can come quickly for companies that are ready. For those that aren’t prepared with the resources necessary to jump on the opportunity bandwagon? The ride is most likely going to leave them behind.