Don’t Believe Everything You Read

You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading doom and gloom about the economy. Each day, there’s a new bit of economic news that sends the market for a tumble or a surge. Each presidential hopeful claims that only he or she can turn around this miserable economy. Pundits have been calling for a recession for 2 quarters. Some have gone so far to say that we are already deep into recession – despite the fact that we have yet to see a single quarter of negative GDP growth. If we are headed to a recession, this will be the most predicted and forecasted economic recession in history.

Bullhorn’s client base is very susceptible to the vicissitudes of the market. The staffing and recruiting industry has long been a bellwether for the health of the economy. If corporate America feels the pinch of a slow down, temporary workers and contractors are the first to go, which locks out Commercial Staffing businesses. Then corporate hiring freezes put the chill on Professional Staffing and Executive Recruiting. This industry is the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

Considering the fact that there is a perception of a recession and the industry we serve is always first to go, how’s Bullhorn doing? I recently attended a networking event in Boston where a few people who knew our business put their hand on my shoulder and asked, “how are you holding up?” It was as if no matter what I said, they knew I was just covering up the obvious – that our business must be in dire straights. The reality is this: we have had two of the best quarters in the company’s nine year history. Q4 was an absolute blow out. We signed up more seats in Q4 than we did in all of 2004. And, while the quarter doesn’t end until Monday, Q1 has been very strong. Without exception, the first quarter of the year is a tough quarter for software sales. We clear out our pipeline at the end of the year and most folks want to ride out the first quarter to see what their year will be like before they make any new expenditures. So, the fact that we’re having a solid Q1 speaks volumes.

The growth is not just in Professional Staffing, which has been stronger than Commercial Staffing over the past few years. I just signed a deal yesterday afternoon with a 150 person Commercial Staffing firm in Florida that has been growing by leaps and bounds. Furthermore, our clients tell us that their businesses are very steady. Most of the clients with whom I speak have found that despite the news about the economy, their results have been quite positive. To back up the anecdotal evidence, almost all of our 1000 customers are growing and adding users each month and very few are shrinking their staff.

I don’t make predictions, so I won’t go so far as to say that I know what’s going to happen in the macro economy. I will say that the Staffing and Recruiting firms we work with are doing very well. So, either the Staffing and Recruiting industry is no longer the canary in the coal mine, or firms who use Bullhorn are insulated from volatility in the market, or maybe – now I know this sounds crazy – maybe, the media has this story about the economy all wrong.

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