This sounds like a joke, but it's not in the least bit funny.
Things sure are quiet. OK, so it's coming up to Christmas, and it's usually pretty slow this time of year. But somehow it feels different this time.
We spoke to three industry stakeholders to get their views on what's going on in the market.
Here's what they told us:
The Investment Banker
'It's so bad I'm not even bothering to pretend I'm busy. There's no point. No-one would believe me anyway. Most of us are blagging that this (slowdown) is nothing to worry about, but we're all really concerned that we're heading for a really bad year next year, and that many more of us will lose our jobs. It's hard to get in the Christmas spirit. We've got our staff party this week. I really don't want to go (what have I got to celebrate ?), but it's considered bad form not to go. It will only get noticed if I don't rock up.
'I'm also beginning to dread Sunday nights again - knowing that I'm going to bed and waking up to work in the morning. It's that depressing'.
'It's foot-on-the-ball time. We're not making any decisions about anything any time soon. In fact, most of our so-called leaders are too frightened to do anything. The economic and political climate is just too fragile. There are too many loose ends - the economy, Europe, the US budget deficit, etc. Now's not the right time to be authorizing a big spend of any kind, or planning anything fancy'.
The Recruitment Consultant
'We're going to close the office for over 2 weeks over the Christmas / New Year holiday period. We've never done that before, but no-one will notice this time. It's not as if clients are fighting to get through on the phones (they sure ain't). And candidates ? Yeah, the candidates still ring - but they'll have to make do with the ansaphone. They're not gonna get offered a job in the next 3/4 weeks anyway'.