I have written many articles on the need for unemployment extensions, the addition of a tier 5 to support the millions of 99ers suffering without benefits, and what seems to be a total lack of interest by President Obama on the plight of these unfortunate 99ers. What I have not done, until today, is to write about those that the unemployed both envy, and rely on; the hard working people of the United States of America. Those people who are really carrying the weight of providing the unemployment benefits for 15+ million people out of work due to the Great Recession. They carry a heavy load and in most cases they do it with honor, compassion, and commitment. I felt that someone should at least say we know that it is not easy, but we do sincerely Thank You!
It is sometimes easy to forget that for those still with jobs, the 139.250 million Americans working today, that they face their own unique brand of turmoil, despair, and burdens. Having worked through severe recessions before, my memory recalls the periods of taking one hit after another for the “team.” Still trying to function and “make that sale” that is so critical to just being able to keep the doors open another day. Accepting cuts in benefits, reduced work hours, pay freezes or pay cuts. Constantly hearing footsteps behind us and wondering if and when we will be next. Dealing with the loss of many close and dear co-workers and the added burden of trying to not only do your job, but their job as well. Higher stress, lower pay, and the constant requirement of doing more, more, more when all you would really like is a little help so you can get the job done right.
We forget to look at simple facts. Total employment has dropped by 7.233 million jobs since November of 2007. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics information indicates growth in the economy in excess of the inflation rate. That means those that are left working in the economy are actually being more productive. They are getting more done with less. They are carrying the burden well. None of this means that they are optimistic about the future, just that they are staying very focused on doing what they need to do – protect their job as best as possible by doing it better.
On this Labor Day, I wanted to reflect on the courage and industriousness of those that came before us; those that built this great economy and nation. The only thing new is the history that you haven’t learned yet. By refocusing on our values of citizenship, industriousness, and opportunity for all, we will rise from this Great Recession not off the backs of the remaining hard working Americans, but on their shoulders. I thank them for their dedication, their sense of civic responsibility, and their belief that no American should be left behind. May we all find the right path back to growth and prosperity as we reflect upon our many blessings on this Labor Day Holiday.