Yes, we all have heard that times are tough. For anyone who has lost a job, or who has had to lay people off, I know how you feel. Been there, done both.

Now, it’s time to do something a little different. Take a look at this from a different perspective.

The silver lining? It’s an employer’s market. There are a lot of good people looking for work. The question you have to answer is: If someone can do a job better than you, why don’t you hire him or her?

That is how companies grow. (I liked that thought from Mark Swepston, Atlas Butler, Columbus, Ohio, so much that I stole it.)

Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) data for December of 2008. The data show that there were 2.7 million job openings in December, down 6 percent from November 2008 and down 32 percent from the start of the recession in December 2007.

While job openings are becoming more and more scarce, the ranks of the unemployed are growing dramatically - up by 47 percent in the first year of the recession - such that in December there were 11.1 million unemployed workers.

This means that there were 4.1 job seekers per available job.

Given the 508,000 increase in unemployment in January, if job openings experience the same decline in January that they experienced in December, that will translate into 4.6 unemployed workers per job opening in January.

Maybe this is a little weird, but while the economy is shrinking, you could be thinking about expanding your intellectual capital. Now is a good time to hire some good people.

Source: Economic Policy Institute