Labor Day 2011 is a bit bittersweet. As we remember American workers, let’s not forget the more than 9 percent of our population who are out of a job.
Even with the high unemployment rate, there are quite a few things to be thankful for when it comes to the American labor force.
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 153.2 million people in the U.S. age 16 and older who are employed. And 84.7 percent of full-time workers age 18 to 64 were covered by health insurance all or part of time in 2009 says the latest census.
In spite of the large numbers of unemployed, the percentage change in employment between December 2009 and December 2010 was a positive 0.9 percent (we have to do even better). Employment increased in 220 of the 326 largest counties (those with employment levels of 75,000 or more).
Where were the largest gains? In Elkhart County, Ind., which had a 5.2 percent increase between December 2009 and December 2010, the largest among the 326 largest counties. New York County had the highest level increase of 37,500 jobs.
On the down side, Manatee, Fla., saw a 4 percent decline in employment among the largest counties between December 2009 and December 2010.
What are Americans toiling away at?
I bet you’ll be surprised at a few of these occupational numbers. We have more than 3 million teachers in preschool through Grade 12 classrooms, more than 100,000 computer operators, and only about 11,000 actors (Really? I swear that many are featured in People every month).
Believe it or not, there are still more than 32,000 telephone operators across the country too. There are 117,000-plus bakers making sure our national sweet tooth is satisfied, and nearly a million and a half janitors and building cleaners. And, it seems, we rely on about 400,000 hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists to keep us looking good.
But whoa, only 55,733 telemarketers? That’s what? Only about 1,000 per state? I know this much – they all have my phone number.
Working from home
The number of people working from their homes is rising, but only slightly, growing from 7 percent in 1999 (6.7 million people) to 8 percent in 2005 (8.1 million people). I can’t help but think that percentage has increased even more since then, but in the instant access age of Twitter and SmartPhones, we still can’t seem to get census data that’s more recent than a few years.
What are we earning for all of our labors?
Figures from Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009 show the median earnings for males working full time, year round is $47,127; for females, $36,278. Workers in Santa Clara, Calif., earned the highest among the country’s largest counties during the fourth quarter of 2010, with an average weekly wage of $1,943.
Forecasters expect a 53% growth in the number of network systems and data communication analysts between 2008 and 2018 – a faster rate than any other occupation. In terms of actual numbers, the occupation expected to add the most positions during the same period is registered nurses, with 581,500.
And tomorrow, when the country heads back to work and you’re stuck in traffic, remember the 3.2 million workers who endure commutes of 90 or more minutes each day. But most of all remember that you have a job you’re in a hurry to get to. And even if your business isn’t hiring, make a point to keep your eyes and ears open for your colleagues who are. Then make a difference in the life of someone who is unemployed by letting them know about that opportunity.