Well, isn’t this interesting? Last week’s unemployment figures and the jobs reports certainly caused quite a stir, didn’t they?

James, I think your cover's blown!
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For those who haven’t kept up, last week it was announced that the unemployment rate fell to 7.8% by the end of September, the first time in 4 years it’s been that low. There were also around 114,000 new jobs created in the same period, and the number of people who applied for unemployment dropped as well. Supposedly there were somewhere between 85,000 and 95,000 jobs added in July and August that hadn’t previously been reported; I’ve seen different figures depending on which newspaper I’ve read.

Those numbers don’t look all that bad, do they? As I pointed out in a post a couple of weeks ago titled 5 Reasons America Is Better Off Now Than 4 Year Ago, the economy certainly looks a lot better than it did the day President Obama took office. Anyone who doesn’t see that is hiding from the truth.

Having said that, and in the interest of being fair, let’s look at all of these things from a critical eye. I’m picking on everyone; don’t you worry.

Yes, unemployment has decreased a lot. However, many of those jobs are part time. Also, many of those jobs aren’t paying close to the rate that many people were earning 5 to 8 years ago. We could go back a little further, but it was during that time when companies were sending lots of those better paying jobs out of the country; that train done left the station, as they used to say. So, people have been able to find work, but not at a rate that helps sustain the economy.

Let’s look at jobs. Sure, a lot of jobs were created, and unemployment went down. Economists believe that in order to keep up with inflation and get the economy going that there needs to be an average of 150,000 new jobs a month. Sorry guys, but where do you think those jobs are coming from? As long as Congress decides that there will be no negotiations and that they each want what they want, there will be nothing that encourages anyone to create new jobs in this country at a rate that’s needed to be effective.

Thank goodness for those of us who have decided to work for ourselves and have found some way to at least sustain ourselves. I’ll own up to this; I’m not making close to the kind of money I was making in the mid 2000’s, and I’m not overly sure I’ll ever get there again. I’m not alone here, as many small businesses in my area have started and given up the ghost in just the last 3 years. It’s scary, and yet it’s more satisfying that being fired or laid off from a job you knew you were doing well but had forces outside of your control take it away from you.

Even in the one sector of business, other than oil (yeah, those money mongers), that being health care, is freaking out these days. Health care itself did well; hospitals didn’t. With lower reimbursements and higher costs, hospitals across the country are scrambling to survive. The government’s response is to tell them to be more efficient and work on erasing medical errors. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that’s not going to work.

Apple Planet
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With all the procedures hospitals perform and all the things they have to deal with, looking for them to be 100% efficient isn’t going to happen; it’s called the “practice” of medicine instead of “science” for a reason. Each patient is different; there are best practices that work but let one patient come in that doesn’t respond and suddenly everything is up in the air.

Without some extra reform to things such as malpractice insurance and unsightly jury awards for things that don’t deserve what they’re doling out, even with the new health care plan, which would seem like more of a godsend (I approve by the way) if anyone knew what it was going to pay and what it was going to cover, there will be more hospital closures, a shortage of beds, more use of the emergency room for everything other than emergencies, fewer trained or at least certified personnel (because one of the first areas hospitals cut expenses is in training and certification, some of which is supposed to be required for those people to work in the first place). If you’re worried now about health care, stick around.

And yet, when all is said and done, I still come back to this; things are moving forward, even without true governmental participation. Yeah, the price of gas is going up, but that’s under the control of OPEC and other oil cartels, of which we’re not a member.

Does anyone else have a plan besides me? Few people like my ideas but at least I have some. Come on, share? Otherwise, let’s be happy that things are moving in the right direction; a bit of positivity can’t hurt.

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