You don’t have to look far to find disconcerting news about the present economy.  This AP story from one of our local papers lays out numbers that paint a vivid picture (emphasis mine):

There were nearly 6.4 unemployed workers, on average, for each available job at the end of November, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. That’s up from 6.1 in October, and a record high.

There were 1.7 jobless people for each opening in December 2007, when the recession began.

Job openings fell sharply to 2.42 million in November from 2.57 million in October, according to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

That may sound like a lot, given the depths of the recession, but it’s the lowest number of job openings since July and the second-lowest since the department began tracking the data in 2000. It’s also about half the peak level of 4.8 million, reached in June 2007.

It will turn as our economy is almost constantly in a state of expanding or contracting.  The real issue on the horizon is retention as I have written about in the past.  Hiring is the key.  There are many salespeople today who are “corporate cocooning” until hiring picks up again.

Earlier this week I spoke to just such a salesperson.  He is stuck in a development position where the company is eager to talk about supportive changes but reticent to act on them.  He is simply performing in the role as best as he can with the internal company factors working against him.  He basically said he is ready to leave once there are signs of expansion in the economy.

There is probably a ratio in the above quoted article that flips the exit light on for salespeople.  I won’t hazard a guess, but I suspect it won’t have to get back down to 1.7 jobless people for each opening to open the floodgates to job jumping.

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