October 17, 2022

Despite a slight uptick recently, the U.S. consumer confidence index has been steadily falling:

President Biden denies we’re in a recession, even though we just went through two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, which many consider to be the classic definition of a recession.

But now a new poll finds almost 70% of Americans believe the economy is getting worse. Just 12% think the economy is getting better, while the remaining 18% believe the economy is unchanged.

Worse, a new survey reveals how companies are planning to scale back their headcounts. Several companies, including Google, Walmart, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft have announced hiring freezes or layoffs in recent weeks.

This follows a year of big employment gains for companies and compensation jumps for many workers. Now companies are reducing signing bonuses or dropping them altogether. Organizations are also restaffing to correct skill imbalances (e.g., adjusting personnel for the move from gas-powered to electric vehicles).

In other words, the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way. What was a very worker-friendly employment environment is apparently changing. Employers are beginning to reclaim power in the labor market.

Is this a “new normal” or simply another changing of the times? Only hindsight will provide that sort of clarity. But either way, it seems as if the overall landscape is being altered once again.