Keeping People Working

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto", March 17, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest is doing what he can to keep the unemployment line shorter both here and abroad, a boost in business means good things for the U.S. economy and, you can guess the theme here, the Irish economy, among others. Joining us Carl Camden. Carl is the president, chief operating officer of Kelly Services.

Carl, good to have you.

CARL CAMDEN, PRES. & COO, KELLY SERVICES: Good to be talking to you, Neil.

CAVUTO: I always have a view that if your business is booming, it is only a matter of time before we have permanent hiring going on here, permanent job growth going on here. What do you make of that?

CAMDEN: That has been the case in the last three recessions, it seems to be the case in this one. First companies fill their needs with temporary employees, then they move on to permanent employees, and we are beginning to see that take place now in the United States and in Europe.

CAVUTO: You know, I was looking at today’s tragic developments in Baghdad, Carl, and I was reminded of the fact that Kelly places a lot of military personnel around the world as well, how does that work?

CAMDEN: We place a lot of retired military personnel and a lot of individuals with secret and top-secret security clearance, primarily with companies doing business with the U.S. government. Ever since the conflict level raised there has been an increase in demand by a lot of American companies, and again, also increased in the European companies for security-cleared personnel. And that demand, I think, will continue as long as we are in the conflict that we are in.

CAVUTO: Do you find that given the ongoing instability in the Middle East, in Iraq, through a lot of these volatile regions of the world, that in a weird way your business actually increases?

CAMDEN: I don’t see our business increasing or decreasing with the instability. Generally the more unstable the political environment, the more unstable the business environment. But I do see companies dealing with that level of insecurity, they are reacting and waiting a little longer before they add to their permanent staff, before they add to their capital expenditures. And on the staffing side, that wait-and-see attitude has added to an increased demand for temporary staffing.

CAVUTO: I wonder, too, whether - when we get reminders of terror or violence, whether bosses generally start saying, you know what, in this environment I’m certainly not inclined to hire full-time workers, I might look at part-time help, that sort of thing, but I’m feeling skittish about doing anything bigger than that, are you seeing any of that?

CAMDEN: I’ve seen employers be skittish for the last three years. There have been a lot of false starts to this recovery. And I think that CEOs have learned they are going to wait until the very last second before they trigger any type of investment, be it capital or employment. And you have seen that with a little longer, drawn-out period here before permanent employment has picked up in the United States.

CAVUTO: All right. Carl Camden, thank you very much, of Kelly Services.

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