There’s a ray of hope in the unemployment numbers that many of those furloughed folks could be brought back quickly, but I’m watching online job postings as a leading indicator of future plans. Online hiring activity jumped off a cliff as unemployment shot up.
That means that companies who’d planned and budgeted for new roles or for replacement hiring suddenly stopped. Just as companies may be learning that working from home is a more viable option for their business, they may also learn that they don’t need as many employees as they thought. If we’re discovering new efficiencies right now and being forced into hard decisions that make companies leaner, hiring may take even longer to come back. Even if the full economy turned back on tomorrow, many companies may just not need their pre-COVID employment levels.
Every company I talk to is hunkering down, controlling every cost possible, and looking to find the most recession-proof elements of their business. It’s going to be a long walk back up the mountain for all of us.