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Be the heavy

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We have enumerated certain structural trends which go hand in hand with economic insecurity. One thing I have found to be a barometer of tough times (i.e. recessions) that is far more honest than, say, economic statistics from official sources, is the "want ads." The term want ads in this context is meant to denote any and all published information about job openings, including newspaper classifieds, monster™-like web sites, looseleaf binders at state unemployment agencies and university placement offices, the whole gamut. Obviously, since 90% of job openings are unpublished (an example, by the way, of information asymmetry) the want ads cannot be taken as representative of "what's out there," but the qualitative tone of the offerings sometimes speaks volumes.

Bad times for labor in general tend (nominally, of course) to be boom times for certain professions, if the want ads are any indication. These, of course, are:

  • sales, especially outside sales (see sales critter ship)
  • accounts receivable (i.e. collections)

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