A laborless day for many AmericansPublished 9:23am Tuesday, September 8, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Across the country this weekend there were speeches made and addresses given to praise the role of the past, present and future of the American worker.
But some might say that those words, from President Barack Obama to Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, fell flat Monday, Labor Day, following reports last week that the nation lost more jobs last month, leaving more people wondering when and how they’ll ever get back to work.
With the federal holiday Monday, many Americans may have enjoyed the long weekend surely filled with backyard barbecues and last ditch efforts at some quality time with the last of the summer’s sun. But for others, the day may have only passed as another filled with uncertainty, America’s jobless wondering what lies ahead for them as they seem to outnumber the jobs available.
Unemployment being an unavoidable fact in the state of Michigan, where so many have suffered during the relative burst of the auto industry, Granholm seemed to focus her statements in her weekly radio address to those who are taking advantage of state funded programs, to gain additional training making them eligible for other areas of employment.
“Almost 90,000 people now have enrolled in our No Worker Left Behind program to train for jobs in high-demand fields,” Granholm said. “And we continue to build on Michigan’s manufacturing strengths to transform our state into a center for renewable energy and generate thousands of new green jobs.”
The president addressed the nation’s workforce as well, speaking Monday from Cincinnati Ohio at an AFL-CIO sponsored Labor Day picnic.
The president commented on the challenges that faced workers, organizers and public officials alike during the course of history as well as the challenges that for many still bear a sting.
“Now, some people have already forgotten how bad it was just seven months ago,” the president said. “A financial system on the verge of collapse. About 700,000 workers losing their jobs each month. The worst recession of our lifetimes threatening to become another Great Depression. That’s why we took bold, swift action-passing an unprecedented Recovery Act, and doing it without the usual Washington earmarks and pork-barrel spending…
“We’ve given 95 percent of America’s working families a tax cut-4.5 million families in Ohio, including here in Cincinnati,” Obama continued. “We’ve cut taxes for small businesses, and made new loans to more than 1,000 small businesses in Ohio so they can grow and hire more workers.”
The president’s words may have not been enough to ease the anxieties being shared by many Americans who remain jobless, some having lost their health benefits and others facing the run out of unemployment benefits as they remain unable to secure work.
More Americans than in July, as it so happens.
The nation’s unemployment rate was found to have increased, in a report released Friday, to the highest in over a quarter of a century. August figures found over 200,000 more men and women left without work and there is little certainty when the job market will see a strong bounce back.
Some analysts have said that lay-offs have been reduced either in number or occurrence and that the situation within the nation’s manufacturing sector has eased following its dramatic downward spiral as a result of a poor auto industry.
The recent government sponsored program “Cash for Clunkers” was a hope by many to rejuvenate that industry. But skeptics say it may have only been a periodic source of help.
Granholm, in her address, expressed her hope that renewable energy and “advanced-battery development and manufacturing,” will bring jobs back to Michigan.
Obama said energy reform would create green jobs “that can never be outsourced” and that a focus on education would create a highly skilled job pool of American workers.
The week will be a bit shorter for those across the nation who still have a job to report to but for those still looking for work, still waiting to hear back from that last interview, still hoping for a shift within their respective industry – the wait remains long.