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A Publication of WTVP

With the passing of Labor Day, the third anniversary of 9/11, and the country on the doorstep of a presidential election, now appears to be a good time to look at the employment situation.
Depending on how you choose to look at it, the employment situation is either a glass half-full or half-empty. Though I admit the employment situation isn't perfect, I continue to be a glass half-full guy. Let's take a look.

The U.S. Labor Department said employers created 144,000 payroll jobs in August and nearly 60,000 more jobs in June and July than previously estimated. Overall, the U.S. economy has produced 1.7 million more jobs than it did in August 2003. Though there are 900,000 fewer workers than when President Bush took office, it's understandable based on what's happened in this country over that time. Simply put, if adding jobs is better than losing jobs, the employment number is trending in the right direction.

In addition, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent in August, nearly 1 percentage point below the peak last summer. It seems the unemployment rate will continue to decline, as forecasts project companies will keep hiring. To put it in perspective, August's unemployment figure is lower than it's been during much of the post-World War II period.

So the numbers provide continuing evidence of a rebounding economy. But what are the people saying? One recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll seems to agree the state of employment is good. The poll, taken August 16 to 18, focused on the public's attitudes about work and had a sampling of 589 workers. Here are some of the results:

As you can see, the majority of the employment numbers and surveys continue to be positive. There are those who'll continue to remind us it's not perfect, however. The naysayers will declare that employment growth isn't brisk enough, or that pay is stagnant, or that we're outsourcing too much, etc. They always do. But this country has gone through some tough times and is dealing with some tough problems. And all along, the spirit of the American worker has handled it, adjusted to it, and kept moving forward. This is why the glass is half-full. IBI

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