Billionaire Perelman: What's Good for Corporate Profits Isn't Good for Jobs

Friday, 03 May 2013 09:24 AM

By Dan Weil

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The cost-cutting trend in corporate America is boosting profits, but it's not doing much to lift hiring, says billionaire buyout king Ronald Perelman.

"Unfortunately what is good news for American industry — that profitability of most companies is strong — is bad news for those looking for work," he told CNBC.

"We've rationalized our businesses over the last five years. That's good news for operating companies around America. It's bad news for the unemployment rate because those people that we laid off in 2008-2009, there's no need for us to hire back."

Editor's Note:
Economist Warns: 50% Unemployment, 100% Inflation Possible

Unemployment stood at 7.5 percent in April.

"We've gotten more efficient and we've gotten more productive," said Perelman, CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings.

For his own companies, which include Revlon, while profit growth has been strong, revenue growth hasn't, just like at so many other companies.

"Overall, our businesses are doing well, not in regard to revenue growth, but in regard to controlling expenses," Perelman explained.

Expanding sales is "very difficult in every sector we're in," he noted. "Revlon Cosmetics is going to grow 2 to 3 percent this year. Everything is around that level or flat."

Others too are concerned about the economic implications of weak revenues.

"The lack of revenue growth really doesn't justify new head count or capital expenditure," Jim Russell, senior equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, told The Wall Street Journal. "This is one of the reasons we see a stagnating sticky high unemployment rate."

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: 50% Unemployment, 100% Inflation Possible

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