I ran into a friend today who had been a union carpenter for as long as I’ve known him. Of course work has been scarce the last two years, and it finally got to the point that he took a manufacturing job at a much lower rate of pay in one of the few new businesses to open in the area. Naturally there were many more times the number of applicants than there were jobs available, so the new employer could afford to be picky about who it hired. My friend got the job not because he knew one of the hiring managers (which he did), but because the hiring manager knew him to be an honest, intelligent, and hard-working guy. In other words, exactly the kind of employee that you wish your entire workforce looked like.
This new business will probably do well, in part because they have an excellent cadre of employees to build it on. My friend will probably do well with them.
The lesson: the economy will eventually turn around. Now’s the time, when they are available, to hire the good people that you will wish you had when it does. Otherwise you’ll be competing for them with everyone else later.