The Bullseye - April 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In This Issue:
How to Recession-Proof Your Job,
Alumni Update,
Understanding the US Dollar Decline,
2008 Industry Outlook

How to Recession Proof Your Job

The debate is still underway; are we in a recession, or aren’t we? Economists at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch believe we already are and are heading for our first full recession in sixteen years. Regardless, there are some things each of us can do to “recession-proof” our jobs. Now is the time to start planning. Do not wait until a recession is in full force. Whether or not it turns out to be a brief slowdown in the economy or a recession, there are things that can be done in order to safeguard against job loss and be proactive.
 
Tara Weiss at Forbes.com suggests, “boost your value and make yourself indispensable. Show up to work early and stay late. Now isn’t the time to slack.” Weiss also suggests volunteering for projects, and prove that you can contribute at any level. In addition, she advises to take on projects from other divisions. Finally, realize that you will be stretched to your limit. She does not suggest sleeping at the office; just realize that extra hours will be necessary.
 
Bill DeMario, Chief Operating Officer of Aijilon Consulting, a staffing firm specializing in finance, accounting, and human resources, suggests that one of the most important things you can do is to look for ways to save your company money. Anything from recycling programs to capital expenditure reductions can impact the bottom line. Look for any suggestion, and take it to management. Again, saving the company money will boost your value.
 
No one has yet decided if we are in a full-blown recession. But following some of these simple suggestions can help you to “recession-proof” your job. Remember that sometimes there is nothing anyone can do to stop a recession, and some jobs will always be affected. However, do your best now and be proactive. This will, no doubt, better your chances of safeguarding your job during a difficult financial period.

Alumni Update

After retiring from the Navy after 30 years, I had no clue as to what career to pursue. Thanks to ORION, I landed a well-paying and satisfying career here at GD-NASSCO. Thank you very much!

- David DeArman

I am doing well with the company that I was placed with through Orion. It has been more than I expected. It has been great.  After only 6 months of being with the company I received a big raise.

- Moises Valencia

Do you have an update to share with us?  Did you get promoted, have a new addition to your family or any other news you’d like to share?  Click here to tell us about it.

Understanding the US Dollar Decline

It’s no secret that the US dollar has been declining in recent months. Travel anywhere outside the United States, and this will become apparent. The decline has actually been happening since 2002 but has most recently been dramatic.
 
The dollar has posted record lows in recent weeks against the euro and the Japanese yen. According to US News and World Report, the US dollar index “has declined about 4 percent this year and roughly 12 percent since the end of 2006.”
 
So why is the US dollar declining? According to the same US News and World Report article, central banker disunity is at the top of the list. The Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates to 3 percent, while The European Central Bank and Bank of England remain at 4 percent and 5.25 percent, respectively. The differences are a major reason for the decline in the US dollar value.
 
Slow growth and the federal outlook have also contributed. Slow growth in the economy is a natural precursor to lower US dollar demand. Furthermore, the feds cutting rates creates negative dollar value.
 
The housing crisis has added to weakening the value of the US dollar. According to David Resler, Chief Economist for Nomura Securities, the housing triggered credit crisis, “weakens the dollar because it discourages investors from buying dollar-denominated assets.”
 
So what is ahead for the dollar? Economists do not see the dollar gaining value anytime soon. It is expected to be rather weak throughout 2008 and could hit rock bottom in the next two years. What this means for the US economy is inflation. Imported products at such giants as Wal-Mart and Target could lend to an increase in product price. Inflation could also been seen in oil prices. But, apparently, it is not all bad news. Demand for US products is increasing overseas as the US dollar value declines. It does help balance things out and, in the long run, can assist in increasing US dollar value to more stable levels.

2008 Industry Outlook

We have firmly planted our feet in 2008, and various businesses are beginning to see major business trends across several industries. Deloitte and Touche, LLP, recently released its “2008 Industry Outlook: A Look Around the Corner.” The report features business issues that will be of significance in 2008. It also provides solutions and recommendations for adapting best/leading practices from experts in various industry sectors. 
 
The following sectors are reviewed: Aerospace & Defense; Automotive; Banking & Securities; Consumer Products; Energy & Resources; Health Sciences; Insurance; Media & Entertainment; Private Equity, Hedge Funds & Mutual Funds; Process & Industrial Products; Real Estate; Retail; Technology; Telecommunications; Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure; and US Federal & State Government. 
 
The industry outlook for energy and resources reported high crude oil prices and volatile natural gas prices. Process and industrial products should expect continuing consolidation, along with an increased focus on emerging markets. Consumer products will be fueled by technology advancements and more complete product information, as requested by the buyer. 
 
Some of the major trends across industries include: environmental stewardship and product demand, the 2008 Presidential election, rising energy and healthcare costs, globalization and convergence, transparency, technology use and integration, and talent management. 
 
According to Ed Carey, Vice Chairman and National Managing Partner, U.S. Industries with Deloitte & Touche, LLP, those who understand the issues in their industry can better prepare for challenges, as well as gain competitive advantage. The report can be found in its entirety at www.deloitte.com
 
Regardless of the industry, being ahead of the game is the key to any organization’s success. Reports such as this are of tremendous value. No matter what level an employee is, understanding the industry and its future can provide an unprecedented competitive edge.