My Challenge to Christian Business Owners

It’s easy to get upset when we look at the numbers coming out of the Department of Labor. When you dig into the numbers – even just a bit – they are revealing about our economy. In my opinion, we are swiftly approaching a structural unemployment level that will be more and more difficult to undo the longer we continue in our current trajectory. As Christian Business owners, we have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in this area.

Unemployment

The Unemployment Rate stands at 6.7% nationally. Here is the information:


Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Annual

2003

5.8

5.9

5.9

6.0

6.1

6.3

6.2

6.1

6.1

6.0

5.8

5.7

 

2004

5.7

5.6

5.8

5.6

5.6

5.6

5.5

5.4

5.4

5.5

5.4

5.4

 

2005

5.3

5.4

5.2

5.2

5.1

5.0

5.0

4.9

5.0

5.0

5.0

4.9

 

2006

4.7

4.8

4.7

4.7

4.6

4.6

4.7

4.7

4.5

4.4

4.5

4.4

 

2007

4.6

4.5

4.4

4.5

4.4

4.6

4.7

4.6

4.7

4.7

4.7

5.0

 

2008

5.0

4.9

5.1

5.0

5.4

5.6

5.8

6.1

6.1

6.5

6.8

7.3

 

2009

7.8

8.3

8.7

9.0

9.4

9.5

9.5

9.6

9.8

10.0

9.9

9.9

 

2010

9.7

9.8

9.9

9.9

9.6

9.4

9.5

9.5

9.5

9.5

9.8

9.4

 

2011

9.1

9.0

9.0

9.1

9.0

9.1

9.0

9.0

9.0

8.8

8.6

8.5

 

2012

8.2

8.3

8.2

8.2

8.2

8.2

8.2

8.1

7.8

7.8

7.8

7.9

 

2013

7.9

7.7

7.5

7.5

7.5

7.5

7.3

7.2

7.2

7.2

7.0

6.7

 

 

A 6.7% rate would be a sign of things getting better if it wasn’t for the other numbers. What other numbers, you ask? Well, consider the following:

  • The change in the unemployment level was -490,000 in December of 2013 – which means that the number of people counted as unemployed dropped 490,000.
  • Those who found new jobs were 143,000 in December
  • Those who left the work force because they have given up looking for work was 347,000. Add the latter two numbers and that’s how you get to 490,000.

You see, the much touted unemployment number is called the “U3” number – this is the official unemployment rate. However, the U6 number is more important and more telling because it includes those described as “marginally attached” and that group includes those who are “discouraged”. The U6 number is fully described as:

“Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.”

The U6 number is 13.1%, nearly double the “official” unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for those between the ages of 16 and 19 is 20.2%. Even worse, the unemployment rate for the black community, overall, is 11.9%. Black men and women between the ages of 16 and 19 are experiencing an unemployment rate of 35.5%. By comparison, Hispanics in the same 16-19 age bracket are experiencing an unemployment rate of 22.3%.

If you have a bachelor’s degree and are over 25 years of age, you’re in a 3.3% unemployment scenario. If you graduated high school and have no college education, your unemployment rate is 7.1% and if you didn’t graduate high school, it’s 9.8%.

Your Challenge

If you’re a Christian Business owner, I invite you to consider more carefully how you can provide products and services to the community that enable the community to flourish (Purpose #1). Perhaps you can do some training to give those unemployed better skills and education to land a job. Perhaps you can do some mentoring. Perhaps you can afford to hire one or two people, even if you don’t need them. But if all you do is complain and moan about the incompetence of those in government, then you’ll never be part of the solution. Government is limited in what it can realistically do for people, in spite of politician cries to the contrary. As Christian business owners, all of us should ask the Lord how we can improve the lives of those experiencing unemployment and some of us will be asked by the Lord to forego some profits for the good of our fellow man.

So today, get on your knees and ask God what you can do – as a business owner – to help lower the unemployment rate. You might be surprised at what you hear back! And then get going on what God is asking of you.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

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