It's anecdotal evidence, for sure -- but sometimes, it's a leading indicator. Citigroup (NYSE:C) is reportedly considering a pile of layoffs. Circuit City (NYSE:CC), same deal. Mass firings -- let's call them what they are, yes? -- are up. The prime pain areas are temporary help services, construction, and manufacturing, but what happens when those people slow their spending?

Could it be that we're reaching that inevitable point in the business cycle when neither cheap credit nor new technology can buy more profits, so it's time to start handing out the pink slips? And what happens to profit growth when you run out of people to cut? Ignoring good companies for a moment, what happens to money-losers like GM (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F)? Can they cut their way back to success?

And, of course, the final question: What does flattening profit growth mean for your portfolio? What kind of growth are your stocks priced for? What kind of growth are they likely to get?

Points worth pondering, as the rest of the media continue to salivate over meaningless market milestones, and everything floats upward.

Comments? Bring them here.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had no positions in any company mentioned here. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. The Fool has a disclosure policy.