Alright Corporations, Time To Start Hiring

Alright Corporations, Time To Start Hiring


Hey there corporations!

Hope all is well. If the news today is any indication, looks like things are going great! Your profits have gone up seven straight quarters and collectively reached a record high.

Here, just take a look at this graph…

Wow! You must be pumped!

Also note that you’ve had to pay fewer taxes on those profits too. Who did that? Not Republicans.

So, aside from the tax cuts, why is this happening? Two words: productivity growth. Doing more with fewer people. It’s a decent strategy, but there’s also a downside. You tire your workers out by making them think that you own them because you’re hanging the high unemployment over their heads as reasons to not give them a raise or hire more people to help support them.

Seriously all…it’s time you did your part too. You all know you can add more people to your workforce, it’s just a matter of slow growth so you don’t have to fire them in six months. Yes, we’re all skittish after our near collapse, but it’s in all of our best interests to get more people working so they can buy more of YOUR stuff, right?

Glad we had this simplistic, yet accurate chat.

  • Tully

    Glad we had this simplistic, yet accurate chat.

    1. characterized by extreme simplicity; naive
    2. oversimplifying complex problems; making unrealistically simple judgments or analyses

    Well, at least your vocabulary is showing signs of growing more accurate.

    As for the implicit assumptions that [a] corporations exist to provide jobs, and [b] that corporations are supposed to create their own demand for their products by increasing the number of people they employ, well, “simplistic” may to somewhat too optimistic a descriptor.

    Now, if one were inclined to assess the information so selectively presented in the post in relevant context, reading through to the link provided and to the blog entry from which the chart was taken would be advisable. Particularly to the addnedum in the blog post, where the chart info is presented in a somewhat more applicable fashion.

  • kranky kritter

    Corporations will continue, as they should, to hire more employees as they see demand for their products and services rebound.

    That’s how it works. Corporations do not really have any mechanisms to respond to moral pleas such as yours. If publicly traded corporations hired workers in instances where demand for their products did not support such hiring, investors would vote with their feet.

    Pretty simple stuff.

  • WHQ

    I thought that chart looked, well, not quite right in scale. From the NYT (emphasis mine):

    Addendum: I’m getting lots of questions on how to better put the profits numbers in historical context, given that they’re not inflation-adjusted.

  • Tully

    RE: not inflation-adjusted —

    First thing I noticed, WHQ, before I even started reading the actual post. Then on reading one catches the backhanded framing of increased productivity as part of an evil capitalist strategy to further enslave the proletariat … 😀 Of course, it’s not really a “strategy” at all, save in the sense that businesses ALWAYS seek to maximize productivity (efficiencies in utilization of resources) in order to increase viability and survivability. All businesses seek enhanced productivity in order to not go out of business.

    The correct metric framework for assessing such national data as corporate profits is, of course, as a percentage of GDP, which is what the second chart shows in the NYT blog post addendum.

  • blackout

    Having worked for a Fortune 100 company for the last decade I find the reactions here risible. Actually, there’s often little rhyme or reason to why hiring and firing occurs, other than the clear line between poor economic conditions and the danger to shareholders, so please don’t insult my intelligence with the idea that most corporations ate well-oiled machines which are constantly thrumming away at optimal levels. What you’re talking about is a luxury afforded to small companies, Tully, where the stakes are smaller and the facts on the ground can be grasped and the ship turned in a relatively rapid fashion. As for it not being the business of corporations to provide jobs, I’ll happily abandon that line of thought as soon as their tax cuts are no longer tied to their plaintive cries that they’d happily employ more folks if their taxes weren’t so darned high. Feel free to damn the myth that providing jobs is the corporate raison d’etre, but I’ll expect your corresponding evisceration of the corporate welfare that’s designed around explicit promises to do so.

  • Tully

    Straw man MUCH, blackout? Please do not attribute to me things I have not said. Which would be pretty much the whole of your post.

    But hey, C+ for the avid deployment of marginally tangential non sequiturs in diversionary ranting. (You got extra points for correct spelling.)

  • Jim Satterfield

    The American citizen is the employee of last resort for modern multinationals. They would much rather hire cheap labor overseas even if the outcome for efficiency and actually serving the customer isn’t optimal. And their arguments of how it doesn’t really hurt the U.S. economy don’t hold water. Note the reference to bad GDP numbers, Tully. This article from eWeek has a guy who has a vested interest in offshoring trying to put spin on how it’s the American workers fault for not adapting while he ignores a lot of other research that has shown the results largely aren’t as positive in savings because of management issues, time difference and people who just aren’t as good as portrayed by the offshoring industry. While these countries do have some really good people, there just aren’t as many as some claim. But I link to it just to show the kinds of numbers we’re talking about when it comes to good jobs that aren’t solely in the IT departments that are being sent overseas to boost profits (and executive income) while severely damaging the American middle class.

  • The Choosen One

    You are an idiot. Corporations don’t pay taxes. They pass that onto the consumer. Since we are in a recession, no one is really buying. Hence, less taxes are being collected. Corporations are sitting over 2.5 trillion dollars in the bank because of the uncertainty of the Bush tax cuts and Obamacare. Now that the elections are over and Republicans are in charge, more businesses are a little more relieved that there will some certainty coming from Washington. Your assessment is a joke.

  • blackout

    Tully, you’re completely full of it. Productivity and efficiency do not hinge solely on hiring and firing cycles, and your corporate apology is as simplistic as Justin’s plea to hire based on recent profits. As if this the failure to hire is some perfectly-calibrated plan to run companies at peak efficiency rather than just another over/underreaction to current circumstances. Keep mouthing your platitudes about though productivity and efficiency though. You have the makings of an excellent executive.

  • mdgeorge

    To those who (correctly) point out that the role of a corporation isn’t to create jobs, but to efficiently utilize their capital to maximize profit, I ask: whose role is it? Is unemployment a problem? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard at least some of you argue that the government can’t do it.

    Perhaps we have arrived at a world where all of our demand is met at 90% employment. Our economic model doesn’t seem equipped to handle that situation.

  • JimS

    Precisely, mdgeorge. I’ve noticed that “conservatives” in our modern world seem incapable of recognizing that if in fact businesses succeed in increasing efficiency, producing more with less workers, the money saved doesn’t go into expansion that can still produce more jobs, but into the pockets of the upper management types and shareholders, who are not in fact dominated by groups that route that income to middle class investors but more by the very wealthy. This leaves high levels of unemployment and underemployment as a structural, not cyclical, feature of our new economy. But conservatives tend to base everything on nothing ever changing and claim that if we just did the same things we did in the Golden Age they know existed it would all work out in spite of everything that has changed in the real world.