Things really must be bad – three quarters of senior American executives looking for jobs, normally the most confident and optimistic of all job-seekers, are suddenly finding it much harder to land job interviews.
The poll of job-seekers earning $100,000 or more by recruitment firm TheLadders.com found clear evidence that senior-level job-seekers are feeling the impact of recession as much as workers further down the career scale.
But what is most worrying about the poll, which tracked hiring patterns in 20 American cities, is that these are normally some of the most confident and optimistic job-seekers on the market.
Nevertheless many are putting a brave face on things. Despite the three quarters reporting a slowdown, nearly two thirds said they remained confident they would land a new job within the next six months.
More than half also described the high-end job market where they were as either "stable" or "somewhat stable".
Looking at the market sector by sector, the survey found that hiring in the financial and consumer services sectors had clearly been hit by continued fall-out from the mortgage market collapse.
Yet pharmaceutical and technology industries were both reporting sharp increases in executive-level hiring nationwide.
The cities most favourable for the $100,000-plus job-seeker were San Francisco, San Diego, Washington DC, Boston and New York.
Cities attracting the highest number of job seekers from other parts of the country were New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Seattle, it added.
"One person's recession is another person's opportunity," said Marc Cenedella, president and chief executive of TheLadders.com.
"Some of the very best business innovations and companies have been conceived during periods of fiscal unrest.
"While we're clearly in the midst of a slowdown, job seekers in the current market must capitalize on the downturn as prime time to innovate and grow," he added.