Think About It: Job Jolt - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

September 26, 2013

Think About It: Job Jolt

The August state unemployment numbers came out last week and there was good news and bad news, as is often the case when you read the details. While the state unemployment rate dropped to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.3%, the lowest level of local joblessness in five-years, the hidden concern is that the statewide labor force shrank, as some people have simply stopped looking for work.

The frustration of not being able to find employment might be driving some older workers to simply say they're done looking, and they are now dealing with a longer-than-originally-planned life in retirement. Some folks avoid the unemployment side by adding on extra school years, and while that adds hopefully valuable education and more opportunities, it often adds debt to their burden when the time comes to seek employment again. Companies throughout the country are seeing record profits, but those profits are not necessarily going back out in the form of hiring workers laid off in the past or developing new strategies that would require more workers.

Companies are wary about a possible recession, health care reform implications, tax laws, and an entrenched, unpopular Congress that won't clarify the rules for companies going forward. Companies are thus concerned about hiring and then being forced to scale back their work forces as they did in 2008 and 2009.  So while we are seeing record highs in stock prices and company earnings, the reality is that this wealth has not reached the masses as many hoped and expected it would by now. Slow growth surely beats fast declines, but the local and national economies still have a ways to go before everyone feels the gains. Think about it…


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