The recent up tick in the financial markets may signal a turnaround for few who see the glass as half full. For those who see the glass half empty, the rapid deterioration of the job market, which has shed more than 650,000 jobs for each of the past three months, is causing hardship for individuals across all industry segments and alarm among economists.

Robert Barbera, chief economist for the research and trading firm ITG, recently described the near-record rates of employment decline as a “violent downward trajectory.”

As the chart below shows, the current job loss is striking, but this has often been the case during postwar recessions, particularly during the recessions of the 1940s. The extraordinary job loss in 1945 was the result of the transformation of the war-focused industries and the job transfers from women and teenagers to veterans returning from World War II.

Click on the chart to enlarge it

But the chart also shows some rapid rebounds of employment after the recessions. For example, the market added about 400,000 jobs each month in the year following the 1945 recession. After the recession in 1981-82, the markets rebounded and added more than 1.1 million jobs in September 1983 alone. Nearly 85 percent of these new jobs came from the service sector.

This didn’t happen during recoveries of the 1990s and after the recession of 2001-02. Economists debate the causes of these jobless recoveries. There are several popular explanations. One is that advances in technology allowed firms to operate without increasing hiring. Another is that structural changes in job markets required more time to impact the job market because workers needed to acquire new skills. A third is that some factories shifted part of their business offshore.

There is not yet any sign of the current recession coming to an end. Nor is there any indication of which pattern of recovery the job market will follow when the turnaround finally occurs.

The notes posted here are observations by Keming Liang, Research Associate at the American Institute for Economic Research.


Google just announced a global reduction of two hundred employed in Sales and Marketing positions. This comes on the heels of one hundred employee recruiters searching for jobs themselves following pink slips handed out a couple of months ago.

Although Google still employs twenty thousand around the globe, it’s a sign of changing times and of a company that has moved well beyond start-up into a more mature and cost conscious organization.

Spokesperson, SVP Omid Kordestani, short of admitting Google’s mistakes, made the following statement (full text).

“Google has grown very quickly in a very short period of time. When companies grow that quickly it’s almost impossible to get everything right—and we certainly didn’t. In some areas we’ve created overlapping organizations which not only duplicate effort but also complicate the decision-making process. That makes our teams less effective and efficient than they should be. In addition, we over-invested in some areas in preparation for the growth trends we were experiencing at the time.

So today we have informed Googlers that we plan to reduce the number of roles within our sales and marketing organizations by just under 200 globally. Making changes of this kind is never easy—and we recognize that the recession makes the timing even more difficult for the Googlers concerned. We did look at a number of different options but ultimately concluded that we had to restructure our organizations in order to improve our effectiveness and efficiency as a business. We will give each person time to try and find another position at Google, as well as outplacement support, and provide severance packages for those who leave the company. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone affected for all they have contributed to Google.”

No doubt the “Googlers” are taking little comfort in that last farewell.

As other initiatives close in on inefficiencies and a lack of traction (GoogleTV?) look for more cuts in the coming months.


Ok, so we’re in a recession and you’re going to stop training your staff and stop spending money on marketing - right?


What can you do to give your business an edge over your competitors?
As the Internet extends into every part of our everyday lives, consumers are using it to research products and services before they make contact with you.

Got a website but it’s not generating sales? Not sure if your online budget is optimized for performance?

A website is an essential component of your marketing strategy - it gives your prospects an opportunity to experience your brand, product or service before they contact you. It empowers your prospect with knowledge about your company and what you have to offer so that they are more comfortable about taking the next step - which is to buy now or call you. It is also not unlikely that you're not up to speed on your ability to track and interact with your customers. New tracking technologies are emerging faster than they can be integrated into your online strategies.

A study conducted after the 70’s recession concluded “companies which did not cut advertising expenditures during the recession years (1974-1975) experienced higher sales and net income during those two years and the two years following than companies which cut ad budgets in either or both recession years” MatrikMT

The article continues to say that studies have consistently proven that if you have the guts to invest resources marketing now, you will be more competitive in this tight market and you will come out on top when the economy improves.

In addition to maintaining marketing budgets, leveraging the power of web analytics and the ability to target down to the household level and, in some cases, provide a pathway that leads back to the consumer via e-mail, brings us that much closer to the “holy grail” of web hyper-marketing.

Is your knowledge and use of next-generation trends in web analytics and hyper-targeting up to snuff?

For a quick top down briefing and consul, and a chance to “peek behind the kimono” of an exciting next-generation hyper-marketing tool, feel free to reach out to me at


We've all been told that a picture is worth a thousand words. Presumably when you continue down that path and talk about diagrams and charts, the value goes up even further in a media environment. Flow charts, organization charts, network diagrams ….all visuals…. then add even more information to them, and the diagrams can show process flow, relationships between people or events.

While charts and diagrams may be great for conveying information, they're not always so easy to create. Add to that the price of the tools necessary to put them together, and you may find yourself going back to the thousand words you were trying to replace with the image.

Lovely Charts is an online service that lets you build some pretty cool charts and graphs using only your web browser. Using their libraries of components, you just drag and drop the pieces of your chart, so you can focus on getting your meaning across, rather than getting bogged-down in the drawing process.

Lovely Charts offers a free limited service with a premium service priced at under five dollars a month. After signing up, you can create and export an unlimited number of charts, but can save only one for later revision—saving charts to re-edit at a later time requires a subscription to the premium membership. Lovely Charts should be compatible with most systems running a modern web browser.

There is a fifteen minute tutorial that will arm you with the tools to make you look like a pro.
Click to go to: Lovely Charts


It appears Donovan Data Systems just laid off an estimated one hundred of its staff, half from Donovan Data and the other half from Media Ocean, its sales management system.

Few, if any of the layoffs were client facing, generally coming from operations.

Is this phase one for a take-over by Google’s DoubleClick division? Perhaps not, but it certainly sets the stage for an easier entry point.

Google and DoubleClick have long envied the relationship Donovan Data has with agency clients … one that Google covets and has always had trouble replicating in the media, financial and production arenas outside of Google’s search and ad-serving strongholds.


I take the MTA Metro-North train service between Grand Central Station and Wassaic, New York every week, commuting to the Southern Berkshires. There is usually a connecting train one must catch from Southeast, the midpoint station where the electric train ends and the diesel begins.

Several weeks ago, in frigid weather, service from Southeast was suspended with an announcement directing passengers to wait for a bus, arriving in fifteen minutes, for the last half of the ride.

One hour later, standing in twenty degree weather with no shelter … no bus. By then, seventy percent of the passengers opted to call cabs for an eighty dollar ride that Metro-North charged about five dollars for.

Opting for the cab, I was determined to request refunds for the ride, not expecting an acknowledgement or an apology, dutifully filling out a refund form with “commentary”.

About three days later I received a call from Metro-North apologizing for the delays and discomfort and a promise to send a few rides my way. Now, I’ve heard many horror stories about the Metro-North and New Haven Lines, but I have to take my hat off to the individual in charge of customer service!

I am still out the eighty dollar cab fare but all the anger fades away in the face of a pleasant voice on the other side of the phone apologizing for the problem. And while there is no alternative transportation option, I’m glad to see the effort made to respond in a reasonable and timely manner. That, my friends, is CRM at its finest!

Next weekend, as I hand over my commuter ticket to the conductor, I’ll be sure to smile and say thanks in an attempt to make his day a bit brighter.


Public Relations, otherwise labeled Corporate Communications, has long been a key element in building long standing relationships and trust between an organization, its investors and the investment community at large.

Those professionals in the financial communications arena have, as of late, been called upon to manage the communication gateway for beleaguered hedge funds stricken by poor performance. Turning to a communications professional to “spin” control only during bad times is akin to buying auto insurance only after an accident.

Hedge funds have, for the most part, played their hands very quietly and close to the vest. Communication with prospective investors, and even with existing investors, has generally been uncoordinated with little regard for consistency. The extent of a communication strategy is often a tedious numbers report on performance.

Times are rapidly changing and communication strategies for hedge funds require that they “open the kimono” to both investors seeking to redeem funds and hedge funds looking to secure new funding opportunities in a bottomed out market.

The tool set available to communications professionals goes beyond the news release and occasional news conference dwelling on numbers. Today, the ability to keep investors informed in a transparent way must make use of digital strategies. Thoughtful communications delivered through a variety of channels to include secured e-mail, relevant social networks, webinars and mobile applications are just a few of the tools at hand to address the digital investor.

The investment world at large knows more about your business than you think they do. Instead of combating a seemingly losing battle on a playing field upon which you have limited experience, embrace a new, open communications strategy that is consistent in its performance and ability to withstand media scrutiny.