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Economic Update - Lumpy!

About one year ago, I was attending an International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruitment conference in Philadelphia (see  The Small Search Firm group was talking about the economy.  One of the attendees commented that he described the economy as lumpy.  We all looked at him - and felt a total agreement.  This individual had found the perfect term to describe our current economic situation.

What a difference a year makes?

Earlier this month, I presented an update on the economy to a group of human resource practitioners.  This is my third annual visit - and the title doesn't need to change.  It was simply What a Difference a Year Makes.  I used the 'technical' term mentioned above (lumpy).  People understood. On the day of the presentation, our politicians were still arguing over how to solve the debt crisis (I guess they still are).  Regardless of your political leanings, I was looking for a trend - and found conflicting information from the non-political experts.  (The trend in politics is compromise - as long as you do it my way!)

Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan 'versus' The Conference Board

July 15 (2011):  the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey stated that "U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated in early July to the lowest level since March 2009." July 26 (2011):  the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined in June, improved slightly in July.

Who are these groups/organizations?

  • Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan - a survey of consumer confidence conducted by the University of Michigan.  The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI) uses telephone surveys to gather information on consumer expectations regarding the overall economy.  At least 500 telephone surveys are conducted each month across 48 states (the survey excludes Alaska and Hawaii).
  • The Conference Board - a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest.  They are an objective sources of economic and business knowledge with one agenda:
    • to help organizations understand and deal with the most critical issues of our time

Is there a conclusion?

The data shows conflicts.  The optimist in me prefers the Conference Board.  The pessimist in me hears the University of Michigan survey. Based on the economic news as of this writing, go with the concluding term lumpy.  People seem to understand and agree with the term.  (And anything that all of us can agree to at this time is a good thing!)   Our next entry will be on something 'easier' than the economy - it will be on Ethics in Recruiting!