Jobs hang in the balance

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Last week the Labor Department released its June report and the numbers were well below expectations. It was the third-consecutive month of weak job growth. From April through June, the economy produced an average of just 75,000 jobs a month, the weakest quarter since July through September 2010. The unemployment rate stayed at 8.2 percent.

Both parties and politicians at every level benchmark their performance based on job creation and a low unemployment rate, even though many who hold and run for office have never truly created a job or been responsible for employing a person with their own money. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it’s a heavy weight on one’s shoulders. Making certain there is enough money in the bank to pay the person hired, cover all the taxes and benefits and dealing with a never ending list of government regulations and reporting is a heavy burden. When things don’t go as planned there is no spinning of the facts or passing blame to anyone other than the employer and employee.

As a small business owner, job creation is a very personal thing and no serious employer takes the task lightly, especially when it’s your money being spent and your money on the line for the performance of the tasks assigned to a person. Most small business owners I know feel exactly the same way. I can personally attest that many sleepless nights go by making hiring or firing decisions, dealing with disciplinary issues, benefit plans, work assignments, injuries and generating enough revenue to keep the lights on and the staff working.

That said, when I hear politicians and bureaucrats taking credit for creating x-number of jobs and putting people to work, I have to wonder if they really have any idea how the process truly works and that each hire or dismissal is so much more that just a statistic from which to campaign. It’s a life and that one life has dependents and responsibilities of their own that they likely lose sleep over. The whole process of being a small business owner or working for a small business gets brought up frequently in political campaigns and with the state of the economy in its current condition, we’ll be hearing a lot about the economy and jobs in the coming weeks and months.

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@denpubs.com

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