RESTON, Va. — If there’s one bright spot in the sluggish recovery, it’s the record level of profits at businesses. But with renewed worries over the economy and turmoil in the markets, the question is whether those companies will finally start using that money to hire or whether they will continue to hunker down.
After the year started out well for Dulles-based Reston Limousine, business has stalled this summer. CEO Kristina Bouweiri is pressing on, ordering eight new buses, buying 10 other vehicles and hiring salespeople, mechanics and 20 drivers, but now she is unsure whether it will all pay off.
“I will not know until mid-September if the bad summer numbers are a continuing trend,” she said. “I see a lot of activity, and I always focus on the positive. I am moving forward.”
As corporate profits have hit new peaks, policymakers — including President Obama — have said they are counting on the private sector to snap the U.S. economy out of its slump by hiring more American workers. So far, many of these companies have been content to squeeze more work out of their employees and wait for the economy to pick up more speed before deploying their money. The strategy has also helped their bottom lines.
If economic growth continues to slow down, though, the hopes that these companies will hire more workers any time soon could fade.
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