Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Well, the evidence just keeps mounting that the economic recovery (if it truly EVER materializes) is going to be a jobless one. The latest nail in the coffin of the hopes for many people trying to stay alive economically came Wednesday when chief financial officers said they expected the jobs picture to remain grim.

Kate O’Sullivan, writing in her blog at CFO magazine about the latest quarterly CFO survey from that publication and Duke University, wrote grimly:

“The economic recovery is shaping up to be a jobless one … While CFOs say they will increase capital expenditures and technology spending … they note that employment at both U.S. and European companies will continue to decline.”

Not enough bad news? Check out these two findings from the survey:

  • "U.S. companies expect to reduce domestic workforce by 1.6 percent in 2010, while the number of outsourced jobs will increase. Two-thirds of companies say their employment will not return to pre-recession levels until 2011 or later.
  • "Among companies that recently instituted furloughs or reduced workforce, overtime, wages, 401(k) matches, or company contributions to health and other benefits, most say these cuts will not be restored in 2010. Nearly half of CFOs feel these and other cuts have reduced their company’s long-term growth prospects."

Talk about a Merry Christmas.

Last week, Manpower released its own jobs forecast – and it was hardly encouraging.


With North Carolina unemployment at 11 percent and the U.S. jobless rate headed in that direction, and with such bad job prospects, who can blame consumers for holding back on spending during the holidays?

However, in an ironic observation, CFOs told Duke and the magazine that they were worried about whether their firms had CUT TOO MANY JOBS as the so-called Great Recession rippled around the world.

“Finance executives fear that the deep cuts they made in the face of the economic crisis are not without consequences: 46% say they have taken actions since the beginning of the recession that they feel could reduce their company’s long-term growth prospects,” O’Sullivan wrote.

She added a quote from a New Jersey-based direct marketing firm CEO:

“We’ve cut our workforce very deeply, and if there is a bounce-back, we wonder whether we will be able to handle it with the level of service that we pride ourselves on.”

Come on, now – are you Joe and Jane Consumer really receiving better service from companies that have slashed payrolls to the bone?

And here’s a big surprise – O’Sullivan said the CFOs are “concerned” about the morale among the employees that have survived bloodbaths of pay cuts, benefit cuts, unpaid furloughs, demands for increased productivity and layoffs.

“Thirty-six percent say morale among their employees is fair or poor, compared with just 6% who say morale was at those levels before the recession began,” she wrote.

Frankly, the point of view here is that 36 percent is pretty darn good. Why not 90 percent?

What’s your own mood like – even if you still have a job?

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