I hope you didn't waste your time tuning in for our president's State of the Union Address.
Don't worry, I know you didn't ... think far too much of you to consider such a thing. Those who did, though, report that he thumped an "Economic Stimulus Plan," a set of pandering tax changes designed to encourage you to vote Republican.
Now before you go and accuse me of playing partisan politics here on a business blog, let me pull out my Republican credentials.
Not only have I been Republican virtually my entire adult life, I have an honors degree from what many consider the most politically conservative college in America, and yes, I've been one of those impudent souls that get together at Republican headquarters right before every election and call you at home to remind you to get out and vote. Sorry about that.
But I turned in my Republican badge a year or so ago, and it has nothing to do with Iraq or Bush (OK, him, maybe a little) and everything to do with the party's complete abandonment of the conservative ideal of small government.
Now, this has been chronicled extensively elsewhere, so let's just focus here on this stimulus plan and its impact on staffing.
Temp staffing profits from economic uncertainty. If everything could be planned well in advance, we'd hire full-time, not contract.
Policy changes like the stimulus plan create uncertainty and worries.
Will it pass? Will it work? How bad are things?
That's great for temp staffing ... can't hire full-time if things might go down in flames. And if things are going to boom for a while as people spend their stimulus plan tax break, employers need to temporarily increase production. Again, good for temp staffing - temporarily.
Unfortunately, uncertainty creates waste.
We make short-term decisions. We hunker down and get defensive instead of planning for the long term. We end up setting our prices too high or too low, we produce too much or too little, and we over-invest or under-invest.
All that is bad for the economy, bad for the country and bad for the staffing industry.