Within the last several weeks, stay-at-home measures have shut down normal life in California and much of the United States. Most reports indicate a dramatic increase in layoffs that is both historic in size and speed. The pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of life as we know it — from the way we grocery shop to how we interact with one another. Schools, retail, offices and manufacturing plants have had to learn to work remote, while essential services in health care, grocery stores, distribution services and construction are seeing rapid increases in activity levels.
Overall, these developments point toward a sharp drop in GDP in Q2. According to Goldman Sachs, we can expect “declines in services consumption, manufacturing activity, and building investment to lower the level of GDP in April by nearly 10%, a drag that we expect to fade only gradually in later months.” The venerable investment banking firm is now forecasting quarter-on-quarter annualized growth rates that could hit -24% in Q2. That said, they’re projecting a rapid acceleration of the economy by as much as +12% in Q3 and +10% in Q4.
At the heart of these predictions is the general belief that prior to the impact of COVID-19, the economy was not in a recessionary phase of the business cycle. In fact, the growing consensus appears to be that economy was strong. And, assuming we don’t wait too long to restart, it will ramp back up over the remainder of 2020 and throughout 2021. Alan Beaulieu, lead Economist for International Trends Research, recently put this process into perspective: “The lights will come back on like the fluorescent lights on the factory floor… they won’t come on immediately … they’re going to flicker a bit and they’re going to come on in different parts of the factory … but they will come on. The same is true for the economy as a whole … it will come back, but certain parts of the economy will come back faster than others.”
On the employment front, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the national unemployment rate climbed to 4.4% in March. This represents only the beginning of the effects of social distancing measures, with ITR forecasting an increase to 15% in April and May before starting a relatively speedy decline as the country comes back to work. The March numbers showed a total of 701,000 jobs were lost, with major declines in food services, retail trade and manufacturing. Still, after a decade of record growth and demand, it appears that degreed professionals and managers in the fields of accounting and finance have been largely spared to this point — likely the result of the extraordinarily tight labor market that preceded the crisis.
CENTURY GROUP’S FORECAST
Finance and Accounting executives have been at the forefront of the rapid transformation in the way we work — transitioning entire departments to remote work over the course of days. The challenge: learning to manage teams of remote professionals and temporary associates. Early reports of successful transitions point toward the key role of communication — setting clear expectations, providing support, holding frequent team meetings via phone and video and building new tools for maintaining productivity and accountability.
We have remote-ready accounting and finance professionals available on a direct hire and temporary basis. Contact our team to learn how we’ve helped other clients with hiring in the new world of remote work.
For Job Seekers
Is it too obvious to say that the hiring landscape has shifted drastically within the past month? But the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Great companies and great teams are still built on having great people. That’s never more true than when you’re facing a crisis. We’ve been impressed at how quickly our clients have adapted to current conditions by moving to remote work arrangements. And we’ve seen the same adaptability in the people we represent. The only constant is change. Leading companies continue to build their teams; they continue to hire, execute interim roles and complete key projects in response to the challenges they’re facing. They need great people.
Keys to success in this new environment:
- Be Remote Ready: Develop a remote work routine and work space. Acquire and learn the necessary technology tools.
- Video: Get comfortable video interviewing. Practice.
- Remote Networking: Let professionals in your network know you’re open to new opportunities, as well as to recruiters using LinkedIn Recruiter.
- Find a Partner: Build a relationship with a professional staffing and executive recruiting firm to gain access to a select group of hiring managers.
Submit your resume today to connect with one of our team members.