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Celebrating the workers, and the jobs

POSTED: September 1, 2013 8:00 a.m.
 

Forget the calendar and its pesky allegiance to equinoxes. For most folks, the passing of the Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of a gradual slide into the cool breezes and bright colors of fall.

Summer vacations are done, the school year is in full swing and football season is underway. Can brisk breezy nights, fall festivals, country fairs and brightly colored leaves be far behind?

Before we leapfrog the holiday in a rush for seasonal change, we need to pause and give a little thought to exactly what it is we as a nation are meant to celebrate on Labor Day.

Labor Day is meant to be a recognition of working men and women, those who punch the timeclocks, man the assembly lines, answer the phones, key in the data, dig the ditches and wash the dogs.

With roots in labor unions, the day is meant to be a celebration of those who work for a living, and in doing so provide the fuel to keep economic engines running.

Unfortunately in recent years an economic recession has meant that many people who would like to have been able to celebrate their employment could not do so.

Even with some meager signs that times are improving, unemployment hovers just below 9 percent in Georgia. Forsyth County, with its strong local economy, had a projected unemployment rate of 6.7 percent in July, down from 7.1 percent a year ago.

There are many, however, who question whether the unemployment rates as reported accurately reflect what is going on in the job market. There’s no doubt that many have been unemployed for so long as to have dropped off the rolls, giving up on the job search process. Others have taken part-time jobs or are seriously underemployed, so that while they aren’t listed among the unemployed ranks, they aren’t working to their full potential.

We also have to wonder if the nation really values businesses that create jobs so that people can be gainfully employed as much as it once did.

It’s hard to argue against the position that many in our governments are “antibusiness” and that the sort of capitalism that once made the nation great, creating millions of jobs in the process and the world’s greatest economy, is definitely endangered.

Far too many find favor with the ideas that businesses should be punished if they are too successful, should be limited in the profits they are allowed to make, should be forced to follow government dictates in making business decisions. Sadly, too many of those in leadership positions think capitalism and free enterprise are evils that must be overcome.

But those are heavy thoughts for another day. For this Labor Day, let us celebrate those who work for a living, all of those who work, from the entry level intern to the CEO in the top floor office. Let us celebrate an economic system that encourages the creation of jobs to be filled by employees who are willing to give an honest day’s labor for an honest day’s pay.

Let us celebrate them all — while we still can.

 

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