This from the Wall Street Journal:
Deep cost cutting during the downturn and caution during the recovery put the [S&P 500]companies on firmer financial footing, helping them to outperform the rest of the economy and gather a greater share of the nation’s income. The rebound is reflected in the stock market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at a four-year high. . . .
. . . . But hiring? That’s another matter. [Agilent Technologies] Chief Executive Bill Sullivan says he remains “very, very cautious” about hiring while the recession’s scars are fresh. “That’s a lesson current leaders of industry will not forget,” he says.
That reticence to hire seems to be showing up in the job numbers. And how are smaller companies faring?
Analysts say the recovery is favoring big companies, like those in the Journal’s analysis. Many smaller companies are struggling to stay competitive or to obtain financing.
“It’s a real winners-versus-losers phenomenon,” says John Graham, a professor of finance at Duke University. Mr. Graham directs a quarterly survey of chief financial officers, with CFO Magazine. The March survey found that finance chiefs of companies with revenue of more than $1 billion were significantly more optimistic about the U.S. economy and their own companies’ outlooks than their counterparts at smaller companies.
The full story is here.