How a Dragging Economy Hurts Business, but Presents Opportunity

Looking at current headlines, it’s hard to tell whether what’s been called the “Great Recession” is truly waning or stubbornly hanging on. While economists seem generally optimistic, many point out that the recovery taking shape remains highly fragile.

One thing a business student can see in the headlines, however, is how interconnected our global economy has become — and how drags in various sectors of the economy profoundly impact overall business (and jobs) on main street America. For example:

  • Global events: The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continues to have negative repercussions on supply chains and American markets, notably in the automotive sector. Japan’s disaster recovery (among other world events, such as the death of Osama bin Laden) will certainly influence U.S. economic recovery, demonstrating once again how interdependent we’ve become in a global marketplace.
  • Rising oil prices: Virtually everyone is currently feeling “pain at the pump,” but steep fuel prices especially hurt small to medium businesses (SMBs), again bringing drag to their recovery. It’s easy to understand how increasing fuel prices add to transportation and shipping costs, but petroleum is also used in the manufacturing of a variety of containers and goods. Worse, rising gas costs slow consumer spending on other products and services. Unrest in the Middle East as well as booming demand for fuel in China and other emerging markets are principle drivers of current prices.
  • Lackluster housing sales: Recent reports, along with statements by President Obama, indicate that housing sales will remain sluggish for the time being. This places a drag on such business sectors as mortgage lending and banking, and especially construction, which traditionally “powers economic recoveries.”
  • Federal deficit crisis: In general, a government budget deficit undermines confidence in the U.S. dollar and U.S. markets, slowing investment in American businesses. Debates over tax policy can also introduce uncertainties into markets, negatively impacting SMBs and their otherwise positive hiring plans.

So, in the end, what does all this “economic drag” mean for the average business job seeker?

All is not gloom and doom. Although modest job gains are expected for 2011, certain sectors — from automotive repair and maintenance to personal services — are already showing signs of sustained recovery. Of course, other industries like retail,   dining and real estate are expected to face ongoing growth pains and restructuring. Nevertheless, in poll after poll, SMBs in general say they are trending toward hiring.

Whether you’re striving to enter one of the sectors that’s already improving, looking into a field poised to expand, or drawn to an industry still feeling the pinch, there are now glimmers of opportunity for aspiring business professionals. When companies do hire, they can be expected to carefully recruit candidates who display the talent, long-term commitment and know-how (management, finance, HR, marketing etc.) to help grow their businesses amid a tentative economic expansion.

In other words, if you aren’t already doing so, it’s still an ideal time to bolster your resume with higher education through an American Sentinel University business degree online.