I have always viewed Labor Day as an important holiday to celebrate. As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day make us take notice of those unsung heroes of our families, Labor Day is meant to recognize all those who labor, and across America those people who are in blue collar, white collar, and no collar jobs deserve this day set aside as a “thank you” from Uncle Sam for all the effort all year long.
If you find yourself unemployed on Labor Day, the day takes on a different significance. I have heard an unemployed friend say, “You have the day off? I wish I was working today. I would work every holiday and every weekend. I just wish I had a job.” I am sure many people without jobs feel the same way, especially if they are long-term unemployed (out of work for more than twenty-seven weeks).
Right now we still have an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics that means fourteen million Americans are out of work, and this figure is unchanged since April. So I do keep hearing this sector and that sector are adding jobs, but other jobs are being lost and that means there is no tangible improvement at this point.
I know Congress and President Obama are not playing nice these days. I guess expecting them to work in a non-partisan way to benefit the American people is too much to ask. I mean, it is summer after all and why should our senators, representatives, and President deprive themselves of vacations (to places we can only dream of going)? That budget problem was heavy lifting for these guys, so I guess tackling unemployment is not a priority, at least while they work on their tans, golf swings, or are rocking in a hammock somewhere.
So we may hear some politicians talking about Labor Day; some will march in parades, and others will take adds out in newspapers saluting the American worker. That is all very nice, but that does nothing to change that 9.1% unemployment rate.
We should collectively think about what can be done to get people back to work. If you own a business, is there a way to hire more workers? We can write to our local and national leaders and tell them “Make unemployment the thing you tackle first when you come back from your extended vacations.” If enough people raise their voices, at least we will be heard.
As you celebrate Labor Day and throw hot dogs, burgers, and another shrimp on the barbie, remember how fortunate you are to have a job. Quit complaining about the small stuff, and recognize that you wouldn’t want to be one of those 9.1%.
We are lucky to have our jobs, and some of us even have two in order to make ends meet, but there are those out there who need a break in order to get back to work and lower that unemployment rate. We Americans owe it to those people and future generations to fix this situation, now if only Congress and the President could get with the program.
Perhaps, if they don’t deal with this issue, we voters can make a difference and put some of these people out of office. Then they will be out of work too and know the feeling, and maybe that unemployment rate will mean something more to them than just numbers. Come on, Washington, the clock is ticking!