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Signs of a Downturn (Google Perks Cutbacks), Signs of a Recession (Google Hiring Freeze)

So, the economy stinks.  That's pretty much a given, and most of us have stopped watching CNBC during the day and stopped opening our 401k statements.  It's like 1929, 1987 and 2000 all rolled into one, with the Dow falling from 14,000 to 8,000 in a year. 

Me?  I've got my own leading economic indicators, and they've got nothing to do with the "Money QuotesGoogle from Alan Greenspan" tear-away daily calendar on my desk.

I don't need Greenspan to figure this thing out.  Here's my leading economic indicator:

1.  We're officially in a slowdown when Google starts cutting perks.

2.  We're officially in a recession when Google does a hiring freeze.

3.  We might be in a depression if and when Google does layoffs.

Here's the rundown....

1.  It's definitely a slowdown. From the New York Post:

"Google is going on a diet when it comes to spending on a smorgasbord of food perks for employees living high on the hog in its New York office.  The online search giant issued a memo to its Big Apple workforce earlier this week noting slimmed-down cafeteria hours and food selection as part of an effort "to find areas where efficiency can be improved."

The advertising business is expected to be hit hard by the ongoing credit crunch and Google CEO Eric Schmidt said earlier this month that the company would be operating more carefully as ad budgets come under pressure.

Gone are exotic treats like afternoon tea on Tuesdays, which has been suspended indefinitely. However, the company said there still may be "occasional surprise 'snack attacks' in the future" - similar to what employees get in Google's Mountain View, Calif. offices."

2.  I lied before.  I'm still watching CNBC, and it's officially a recession. From CNBC's David Faber:

"Google, one of the nation's great growth engines for employment, has essentially stopped hiring for the last month, according to several executives at the company.

A spokesperson at the company says there has been no freeze on hiring, but several executives I have spoken with who have hiring responsibility said it was made clear to them one month ago they were to make no new hires, including at the secretarial level and they were

directed to fill all vacancies with internal candidates. In effect, they term it an unofficial hiring freeze.

The good news?  Nothing to report on the depression!  No layoffs at Google, at least yet.  If that happens, it trims 1,000 points off the Dow by itself.....

I know - I'm a ray of sunshine...


Natural Cures

Yes Google is the leader in business protocol.It is a good indicater of when it becomes a true emergency situation.

Ben Yoskovitz

Having "snuck in" once to the Google offices in Mountain View I can tell you the cafeteria there is insane. There were a ton of choices, and most of the food was very high quality. Like a gourmet cafeteria. And of course, it was all free.

It was a good lunch...

John Hunter

Yes the news isn't good but there are silver linings. I was able to pick up some more Google stock today, at the same price I bought on the way up several years ago - $292. I think a decade from now that will pay off well for me, but time will tell whether I am right or not.

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