The workweek is winding down, and the Labor Day Weekend is upon us. As I thought about what my family might do to “celebrate,” it occurred to me that I don’t really feel all that inclined to celebrate. Yes, I’m grateful to have the day off to relax and maybe catch up on some much-needed yard work, but I’m mindful of the millions of Americans whose Labor Day will be, at best, like any other jobless day, and perhaps worse as they watch the employed among them fire up the grills and participate in other festivities, such as parades featuring smoke-blowing politicians.
It’s difficult to put an exact number on just how many of our citizens are out of work. We have the “official” unemployment numbers that don’t take into account the number of workers who’ve given up looking. And we have the underemployed—those who are working at jobs that are below their skill levels and don’t pay enough, let alone provide benefits.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics report for the month of July, both the number of unemployed persons (12.8 million) and the unemployment rate (8.3 percent) were essentially unchanged, and both measures have shown little movement thus far in 2012. I’m not an economist, but personal observation and news reports I’ve read lead me to believe that August won’t fare much better. (more...)