Participate | Victor Benoun

Victor Benoun

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The latest monthly jobs creation numbers just came out, and once again over 200,000 new jobs were created and unemployment dropped. Normally numbers like these would be celebrated on Wall Street, but instead the reception was somewhat tepid.

I think the primary reason for this was the participation rate remains at about 62%, where it has been for quite some time. This is the lowest it has been in decades.

In essence the participation rate is the percentage of working age people who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work. Well, what about the other 38% of the population?

The other 38% are people who have either lost unemployment benefits, who have given up looking for work, receive public assistance or are on disability.

I think the single biggest factor hampering this economy and a strong recovery is the participation rate. If you ask someone who is employed if the economy is good, the answer will be far better than asking someone who is not; the 38%.

So, here’s where I am going with this. If you are unemployed or for that matter underemployed your perception of the economy is probably much worse than someone who has a job and is compensated appropriately. If you fall into the 38% or even if you are working but earning far less than you need, can you put your skills to work to make money? Are you proficient in a field of study where you can tutor or mentor, can you assist someone, run errands, or even create a small business out of the house? This might be a time to take matters into your own hands and discovering if you can create a future for yourself.

While the economy looks like it is improving there is still a lot that needs to be done. Keep your eyes open for opportunities that might benefit you and at the same time, help someone else. It’s a win-win for everyone.