How’s the economic recovery treating you? I know many PR people who either have been out of work for months or are doing freelance work, but itching to go on a more reliable payroll basis.
Another friend reports that a round of "salary adjustments" is in order for administrative staffers at her firm -- though her company is doing very well. Guess which way those salaries are going. Hint: not up.
Why the payroll cuts? Management hired a consultant to analyze operations. The key finding: salaries were higher than at competitor firms. Left unsaid: those salaries were why the firm was doing better than others.
Yet, The bulls are running amok on Wall Street, feasting on the Federal Reserve's commitment to keeping interest rates low. And the media are awash with news of the economic recovery. One would think that happy days are here again.
Economist Paul Samuelson, in his March 24 Washington Post column, suggests it’s time to rethink the term "recovery."
The brain trust at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the academics who determine the dates for the beginning and ends of business cycles, decided the Great Recession ended in mid-2009. Samuelson wrote: "Despite indisputable evidence that the economy is expanding—producing more goods and services—economic conditions have been dismal."
For instance, GDP has passed its pre-recession peak in 2007 only by a skimpy 2.5 percent, and the 5.7M jobs created from their low point are off 3M from the 2007 pre-recession level.
Samuelson believes the U.S. is currently in an economic twilight zone. "It's a recovery, but it's not; the recession is over, but it isn't," he wrote.
PR has a role to play. The best strategy would be to toss the term recovery out the window. Too many PR firms are holding their cards close to the vest. Caution is the byword. They are waiting for the economy to blast off before committing to ramping out hiring.
It's a waiting for Godot game. Time is being lost. Pennies, not dollars, are squeezed.
The PR business cries out for leadership. Who is going to declare the current economic state of affairs as the "new normal"? Let’s deal with it and get down to the business of growing PR.
Though it will require spending some money, the outlay will result in clients and prestige.