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Happy New Year?

In many respects, Labor Day is the beginning of the new business year. For the most part, the die is cast for 2008 results, and corporate forecasting and budgeting begins in earnest for 2009. The Fall conference season commences, and agendas and informal cocktail conversations will be focused on when this current cycle will reverse, and what’s in store for next year. And this November we’ll also have a President-elect to figure into the mix. As businesses map the New Year, there will be a critical look at headcount, and action on some fronts is already being taken. It seems like many companies were taking a “wait and see” approach up until now. Over the past two weeks, however, major real estate players have announced significant across-the-board layoffs, and the word on the street is that the axe is about to fall again on Wall Street. In my view, we are going to see more cutbacks over the next month or two, not a very happy start to the New Year. But looking forward into ’09, I expect hiring trends will start to return to normal, albeit in a very slow and measured way.

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