August 30 2013

Labor Day, 2013

Charlotte Hays

We wish you all a happy Labor Day.

Labor Day is a wonderful holiday, the end of summer and a celebration of work and workers.

But it’s impossible this year to ignore a certain fact: our unemployment rate is 7.4.

And that’s better than it has been for a long time. Joblessness is the new normal for millions of Americans. Not having a job is not just frightening, it is corrosive. Peggy Noonan has a great piece (alas, subscription required) in the Wall Street Journal on how work gives our lives purpose.

She writes:  

Work gives us purpose, stability, integration, shared mission. And so to be unable to work—unable to find or hold a job—is a kind of catastrophe for a human being.

There are an estimated 11.5 million unemployed people in America now, and those who do not have sufficient work or who've left the workforce altogether inflate that number further.

This is the real reason jobs and employment are the No. 1 issue in America's domestic life. And what I have been thinking in the weeks leading up to this weekend is very simple: "Thank you, God, that I have a job." May more of us be able to say those words on Labor Day 2014.

Amen to that, Peggy.

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