Unemployment Rates Drop: Is it Due to Increased Job Creation or More Workers Dropping Out of Labor Market?

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

The debate continues about the unemployment rate, job creation, and the potential boost in our nation’s economy. The Los Angeles Times shares all sides of the debate in last Saturday’s business section.

Although the national unemployment rate is currently at 8.1% (which is almost double in Black and Brown communities) the L.A. Times reported that this rate is not solely because more jobs are being secured by workers —since only 115,000 jobs were added in April (after winter gains of an average of $252,000 jobs December through February)– but rather because more people are discouraged and dropping out of the labor market.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington was reported as telling the L.A. Times that workers are dropping out of the labor market because they no longer believe that there are jobs out there for them. In April the numbers shrank by 342,000 workers. That’s 342,000 that are reported to have lost hope in securing a job.

President Obama sees and reports things differently and more optimistically. He reminded people in his speech last Friday at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, that we are surviving the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, have created more than 4.2 million jobs within the last 26 months, and 1.6 million of those jobs were created just within the last 6 months.

Obama’s chief economic advisor, Alan Krueger told the L.A. Times that the jobless rate fell a full percentage point since last August, and that nearly three-quarters of that drop was due to increased employment. Dean Baker however said that some of the three-quarters was attributable to adjustments in the population.

Analysts claim that the warm winter weather we experienced across the nation has impacted the reported rates of job growth, as certain industries, such as construction—that were booming in December and January, have since seen no increase in jobs.

However, car sales are strong, manufacturing continues to perform well, there is growth in the demand for growth, consumer spending is up, and there is an improvement in the housing market that once was severely depressed.

The L.A. Times makes a point of reminding and educating readers that our country’s economy is vulnerable to various “shocks” such as high oil prices, China’s slowed-down economy, and the debt-strained problems of Europe. When the rest of the world is suffering, our country is hit hard also; and vice versa. We’re literally in this together.

Let’s also not forget that more than 90% of the companies in our country are small business enterprises, with less than 200 employees, yet maybe 90% of job seekers are applying mostly to large corporations—less than 10% of the businesses in the U.S.

Who’s helping to equip these small businesses with the resources to hire more employees?

Who’s reminding and educating job seekers about employment opportunities with small businesses?

Who’s bridging the gap?

We must realize that our economy is impacted by other world economies and “shocks”. We must focus more on the things we’re for and less on what we’re against, and then help to bring about a progressive movement towards solution rather than allow a spiraling effect that will lead to ultimate failure.

We should also be grateful for our country and the numerous resources here. Let’s consider if we lived in Liberia where the unemployment rate is a staggering 85%. What if that was our reality?

Let’s look for solutions rather than people to blame. Let’s look for business opportunities and leverage our strengths, rather than examples of our weaknesses and failures.

What can we do individually and collectively to bring about positive change and to be the change we want to see in our nation, and in the world?

What can you do to help with unemployment in the United States?

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Source: Don Lee. Los Angeles Times. Job weakness feeds fear of a slowdown. Business section. B1, B4. Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. Foreman & Associates, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Women’s Economic Development Agency (WEDA) Beyond the Basics Business Bootcamp this Weekend

Attend the Women’s Economic Development Agency (WEDA) Beyond the Basics Business Bootcamp this Weekend:

We are Celebrating March – Women’s History Month!

In the Atlanta area? Join us for an affordable $99 Business Bootcamp at the SBA funded Women’s Economic Development Agency (WEDA) located in Midtown Atlanta this Sunday Mar 18th!

For details and to register, go to Eventbrite at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2990738379

Please share this with vendors in your network.

Forgiveness is for the Forgiver More Than for the Forgiven

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I have had the opportunity recently to forgive some people in my life who wronged me over the years. I had forgiven them already, but I guess for them, it was necessary to ask…and in some cases, this was not the first request. In all relationships- business and personal I believe that when we part ways, even on bad terms, you should still forgive the person that you believe wronged you. It’s not so much for them as it is for you. This is your opportunity to leave the past in the past, release the weight you have been carrying around on your shoulders and in your heart, and free yourself from the venom inside that causes you to roll your eyes and suck your teeth every time you think of them.

So a few years ago I walked away from a personal relationship. I had forgiven that person for misleading me, betraying me, and mistreating me. I forgave that person for not treating me with the respect that I deserved- that I had given him. He thought money and gifts were good enough, and they would make me overlook his indiscretions in our relationship. He thought that material possessions and a ‘status’ and ‘title’ excused his behavior and treatment of me. He thought that telling me lies and misleading me were excusable offenses because he was, “a man” and “men will be men”, and some other nonsense.

He forgot he was playing games with a child of God. He also forgot my clear declaration that I shared with him, and every man before and after him…”Be honest and upfront. If you want to see other people then let’s just casually date, so we can both be free to date others” because “Once I’m through I’m through, there are no re-takes, breaks while we figure things out, or break-ups to make-ups…if you cheat I’m gone….”

But what was I thinking? Women didn’t leave him, he left them, so I was obviously delusional and way in over my head in his opinion.

It would appear that he was actually the delusional one. Once I walked away from the relationship there was no looking back, no holding on to memories and hopes for something more with him. No desire to punish him, get even, or parade around him and his friends as a reminder of what he had and lost. I was at peace. I had already moved on before I made the decision to say, “this isn’t working out.” But to have this overwhelming sense of peace and resolve it required me to forgive him, which I did.

Years have passed and it never crossed my mind that this individual would spend the time and resources to track me down to ask for forgiveness. But he did. So once again I forgave him. No emotion, no questions of why, how, and “what did I do to you to make you think I deserved this?” Instead, I calmly and rationally told him that I forgave him years ago, have no interest on rekindling flames or even being friends. I wished him well in life and said a quick prayer hoping he receives the life he has always wanted, and that it falls in line with what God believes he needs.

For him he felt he needed clarification; he needed to know how I knew he was cheating because he had been so careful; he needed to know if we could be friends (I guess he thought the first time I said “no” it was a typo), and if we could meet up from time to time. Quickly, clearly, and succinctly I explained the following…

I knew he was cheating because I pray throughout the day every day that God always reveals the truth to me and never allows me to be hidden from it or blind-sided by it; I told him that he should never attempt to mislead or battle with a ‘believer’ because no weapon formed against us shall ever prosper. I firmly yet respectfully told him again that he had no reason to contact me after that point, that if he has learned from his past and has no intention on repeating it then it’s time for him to move on and learn his next lesson.

Had I still been carrying around resentment, anger, desperation, or even a romantic-type of love for him, this moment would have been destroyed because I would have reacted and responded emotionally, and would have allowed myself to be engaged in a lengthy conversation. I would have allowed his need to feel like he closed the chapter on ‘us’ or manipulative desire to start a new one overwhelm me. Instead this dialogue lasted no more than 10 minutes (the time it took me to finish eating my sandwich, chips, and most of my drink).

Forgiving him once more was again for me.

I have learned over the years that I am quite capable of walking away, moving on, weeding out people who serve no purpose but to distract me, and doing so lovingly. My high self-esteem is an added benefit, because I know that no matter what I go through and who I go through it with, that there is always someone better out there for me; that God is there watching over me and setting things in motion where I eventfully (through obedience) afterwards end up with bigger, better, and more beautiful experiences each and every time…and this has happened after each and every ‘failed’ relationship- both in business and in my love life.

The only way to truly prepare for bigger, better, and more beautiful experiences and blessings is to unload the weight from anger, guilt, fear, and negativity. We have to drain the venom from our minds and bodies that poisons us and everyone in our path. We have to forgive those who wronged us past and present. If you haven’t done it, if you haven’t let go, release that weight and start living your life fully…today!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

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