This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Employer Self-Insurance
is Surging


  The Herman Trend Alert

January 4, 2000

Post Y2K Euphoria

362 days until January 1, 2001

For months, if not years, business and individual consumers have been jittery about the impacts of the Y2K computer dating vulnerability. Fear of the unknown caused hedging, delaying, and evaluating of a wide range of purchases and strategic moves. This caution has taken some of the luster off the expansion, growth, and investment we might ordinarily expect in today's robust economy.

Now that the magical date of January 1, 2000 has passed, we'll all go through a relatively brief period of re-evaluation. We liken this evaluation to going through the airport security screening booths, then checking to make sure you have all your belongings before moving on to your gate. Most people-and companies-will discover that they weathered the turning of the calendar page with little or no difficulty. With a collective sigh of relief, we'll realize that we can now move on with our lives. All those bad things we were so worried about are now a non-issue.

Replacing those fears will now be a sense of euphoria, or serenity and good feelings that everything is just fine . . . at least in our little world. Yes, there are all sorts of ideological, political, racial, and nationalistic conflicts all over the world, but they seem so far away. We're more concerned with those things that affect us immediately and directly. Things in our corner of the world look pretty good: we have money in our pockets, worthwhile goods and services to sell, and relatively minimal problems in making things work for the benefit of ourselves, our customers, our co-workers, our investors.

This sense of euphoria will very quickly inspire a loosening of the pocketbook strings. We'll buy more, invest more, and initiate projects that have been patiently waiting for "safer" times to implement. The economy will heat up again. More jobs will be created, many of them in high-tech areas. Competitive recruiting will intensify, leading to more churning in the labor market and more consternation among employers who crave a stable workforce.

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