A nationwide unemployment rate that now is pushing 10 percent may give this Labor Day a little added meaning for many Americans.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the holiday “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” The holiday had its roots in the organized labor movement but, in recent years, it has become known more as an unofficial end to summer than a statement about American workers.
While most people probably are more concerned with how they’ll spend their day off today, too many Americans are wishing they had a job from which to have a holiday. According to national numbers released Friday, U.S. unemployment jumped almost half a point in August to 9.7 percent, the highest rate since 1983. Kansas is fortunate to be well below that figure with an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent.
To make matters worse, reports last week also noted the number of Americans whose unemployment benefits are about to run out, and Kansas officials say the state continues to struggle to meet its unemployment payments.
It all makes having a job look pretty good.
Some jobs are more satisfying than others, but no one should diminish the significance of a good day’s work that contributes to the economy and supports a worker and perhaps his or her family. Many unemployed Americans now have a new appreciation for how important a job can be to a person’s self-esteem as well as to his pocketbook.
America’s success often is tied to the American work ethic, and concerns about the nation often are attributed to a loss of American jobs to other countries around the world. Today is a good time to stop and fully appreciate the importance of American ingenuity and the workers who help turn that ingenuity into products and services that fuel the U.S. economy.
Federal officials tell us that although the current unemployment picture is grim, at least the rate of job loss is slowing. The U.S. economy won’t really turn around until people can get back to work and make the wages that turn into spending on consumer goods. Hopefully, that day will come soon.
In the meantime, have a good day off, and if you have a job to go back to on Tuesday, count yourself lucky. There are plenty of Americans who wish they were in your shoes.