Now in comments given to Buffett media pal Becky Quick of CNBC -- it often seems that Buffett has a freelance media staff of three, comprising Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times, Becky Quick and Carol Loomis of Fortune -- Buffett has more or less proven that the less optimistic view of hiring is the true case.
Buffett responded to Quick's question about employment by saying, "Adding very few people.... The railroad will have added a fair number of people, because if you've come back 61%, you've come back from a fair amount unemployment. But if you take our carpet business, it fell from 13 million yards a week, we'll say, to seven million yards a week. And with that cost 6,500 jobs. We're back up to maybe nine million yards a week. But we haven't had to add yet. If we get to ten million, we'll start adding people. But it -- it's lagging and it'll continue to lag."
Beyond Warren Buffett's comments on Berkshire Hathaway adding workers, there was little in his comments to the famed meeting of the Wall Street titans known as the Montana Economic Development Summit that wouldn't be classified as the typical boilerplate optimism about the U.S. economy.
"I am a huge bull on this country.... We will not have a double-dip recession at all. I see our businesses coming back almost across the board," Warren Buffett is quoted by Bloomberg as saying at the Montana event.In fact, Buffett ruled out a double-dip recession. There was no mincing of words from the the Berkshire Hathaway CEO in expressing his confidence: "We will not have a double-dip recession at all.... It's night and day from a year, year and a half ago." Now we know why there won't be a double dip recession, based on Buffett's more recent comments to CNBC: we're still mired in the old recession. "I think we're in a recession until real per capita GDP gets back to where it was -- before," Buffett said. "That is not the way the National Bureau of Economic Research measures it. But I will tell you that to any -- on any common sense definition, the average American is below where he was before, or his family, in terms of real income, GDP. We're still in a recession. And -- and we're not gonna be out of it for awhile, but we will get out of it."