The next question takes a bit longer view into the quarter, looking at the future orders book. Your feeling about overall sales in the first quarter as a whole reflects a strong positive outlook with 81% indicating either staying the same or improving sales to be expected! We certainly hope this optimism holds true.
A new question added this survey asks you to identify your firm by revenue on a yearly basis. This question will be able to help us illustrate segments of each question. For example, are large companies hiring vs. smaller firms?
With the continued debate on healthcare nationally and locally, coupled with the election to the Senate of Scott Brown, the question addressing highest labor costs focuses again on healthcare concerns. A full 60% indicate being concerned.
When we asked what area of revenue was under the most pressure, Offset is still high but increases from 46% to 55% of the total. Seems that for the last six quarters this area has been under significant duress pricing wise.
The last area I would bring up from the questionnaire regards the “are you hiring?” question. Clearly, the pressure is still on in our industry and if you drive through the towns or walk through the malls of America, most other industries are as well. The responding firms all indicate a willingness to try and hold on to their current labor force and ride out this downturn with 63% staying the same and the remainder spilt between laying off and hiring.
A company is it's people and trying to protect them clearly is important. It is also important to make sure that the strategic goals of a company lead it to a place that as quickly as possible allows it to strengthen it's balance sheet and survive. The need for the DEMAND to change is clear. The smart will listen and experiment with adapting and finding the right model. If ever there was a time to start experimenting, now is it.