Tech Check

Google: It's The Job Numbers That Really Count


Rather than get bogged down in Google's earnings numbers, which were extraordinary once again, investors and analysts will seize on the company's headcount, and for good reason.

The company added a staggering 2,100 employees these past three months, on top of the 1,500 they added last quarter. Analysts expected the company to keep the payroll at or below 15,000 workers; the company says total global headcount is now just shy of 16,000 instead.

Google Earnings

The worry, of course, is that the company is hiring too many people too fast and its revenue growth won't increase fast enough to support the trend.

But unlike last quarter when margins got squeezed because of the huge headcount increases, Google this time around added that many workers and its $3.91 in earnings per share actually beat the whisper number.

So, can this company do no wrong? Can it grow this much, this fast, and hire 2,100 workers without sacrificing margins along the way? It was a painful lesson to learn last quarter when the stock was shellacked because of the surprisingly "bad" news. But this time around, with lesson learned, the company far exceeds revenue and EPS estimates, and hires who it wants when it wants.

Message to investors: Google apparently can have its cake and eat it, too. Shares took an early tumble as investors seized on the instant numbers. But with a few minutes of hindsight, these shares could be off to the races once again.

It's truly extraordinary.

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