2010 Predictions from Big Company CEOs: Sales Up, Payrolls Down

Don't let November's relatively mild labor figures ("only" 11,000 jobs cut, compared to 111,000 in October) give you a false sense of employment security.

According to a new survey by the Business Roundtable, an association of top executives, many CEOs at large American companies still think more layoffs are likely. Over the next six months, 31 percent predicted their workforces will decrease while only 19 percent thought they'd be ready to add to their payrolls. The CEOs were as pessimistic about hiring when they were last surveyed in the third quarter.

However, the CEOs indicated that they were more optimistic about the overall financial prospects of their companies as 2009 comes to an end than they were in Q3. 68 percent predicted increased capital expenditures and 40 percent anticipated higher sales tallies for the first half of 2010. Back in the third quarter, just 21 percent predicted increased capital expenditures while 51 percent thought sales were set to increase.

In other words, prepare yourself for a jobless recovery. Big companies will be looking to extract even more work out of their layoff survivors in 2010. And whenever these companies decide that they do need more manpower to handle all the work, they could opt for temporary workers or cheaper, overseas talent instead of hiring full-time American employees.