Editor’s Letter - The Job Bandwagon

The U.S. economy received a jolt of good news recently when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. companies added 321,000 jobs to their payrolls in November.

Andy CohenThe U.S. economy received a jolt of good news recently when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. companies added 321,000 jobs to their payrolls in November. Further, economists estimated that December saw job growth beyond the critical 200,000 monthly number, as well.

The results far exceeded analyst expectations (most consensus estimates had companies adding a total of about 220,000 new positions in November) 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.”

And, the strongest sector for hiring in 2014 includes companies represented in the ad specialty market. Companies in the business and professional services sector added 680,000 new jobs to their payrolls through November. While this includes organizations like law firms and consulting companies, it also consists of marketing companies and ad agencies.

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.

In other words, they’re building and investing to ensure they grow. It’s leading to what economists are calling an extreme opportunity for companies to try to capitalize on. “These were boom-like numbers,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said about the recent job growth statistics. “They indicate that the U.S. economy is on very solid ground.”

Others are seeing an especially powerful trickle-down effect in the economy today – one which is providing many new prospects for revenue generation and growth. “There is a positive feedback loop going on at the moment,” Mike Jakeman, global analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in a note to clients in December. “Job creation is running at the strongest rate for 15 years. More people in work means more income, which means more private spending, which means more business investment, which means more hiring.”

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. And, it’s often the ones that are staffed up to service new customers.

Like, the suppliers honored in our annual Counselor Distributor Choice Awards. They’re the companies that provide outstanding service to their customers, and they’re able to use service as a differentiator in their business. It’s something that will become increasingly important as companies start to find real growth during an economic spring.  

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.

Enjoy the issue!