Unemployment fell to 6.7% in December from 7% in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was an unexpected drop since the current model anticipated unemployment to remain steady around 7%. This major (I’m considering .3% to be major when you think about the thousands of people who are now employed) reduction created roughly 74,000 new jobs; however, it is still below the 200,000 mark which economists had forecasted for this period.
On the other hand, Gallup Inc. has measured the current employment rate at 42.9% with their simplified Payroll-to-Population statistic, which measures the unemployment rate as a percent of adults in full-time jobs as a percentage of the total U.S. adult population. This number dropped from November’s percentage of 43.7%, making it the lowest number Gallup has measured since March of 2011.
Is this cause for concern? According to the Bureau, the improvement is good, but I feel as though our nation is lacking something, some je ne sais quoi, to propel our industries and businesses further. We owe it to the millions of people who have stopped searching for jobs, to keep pushing for economic development. Do you know what people all across the United States are concerned about? According to Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup Inc., its having a good job.
About three weeks ago, the freshmen in The George Washington University School of Business’s First Year Development Program had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Clifton speak about the importance of entrepreneurship. According to his blog post, which he posted the following day, 400,000 small businesses and start-ups are being created annually, while 470,000 are failing annually. Up until 2008, start-ups outpaced business failures by about 100,000 per year, but within the past six years that number has turned negative. Due to the volatile market and foggy future of businesses, I think entrepreneurs are wary and more reluctant than ever to try their hand at owning their own businesses. This is unfortunate because 50% of all jobs are in the small business sector, and according to the Small Business Administration, 65% of all new good jobs are created by them.
Despite these disappointing statistics, I would agree with Mr. Clifton in that now is the time to be taking chances on small businesses. President Obama in his State of the Union address said, “We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow.” While I agree with this sentiment, what’s innovation without a sound business plan and business leader?
This is where entrepreneurs and business students come in to play; we need you. The United States needs not only the Steve Wozniaks, but the Steve Jobs of the world to take innovative ideas and sculpt strong strategies and team members around them, so that they can be successfully integrated into our households. And moreover, this will push our bounds as a society and also serve as a catalyst for our economic activity to spark employment growth. Business is no longer purely about the bottom-line, this is how entrepreneurs and students can directly affect the wellbeing of others.
My message to you young and talented business hopefuls: do not be afraid to imagine. Think about how many silly ideas you had as a child. I remember one specific, crazy invention that I had when I was little, it was called the Triple Tasker. What was made out of cardboard was a contraption (really just three square openings) that would allow the user to carry three different items in one awkward, compartmentalized big box. While this was clearly not a practical idea, I wasn’t afraid to let my mind wander and think of obscure things. Dream big. If you want to create the next Nike, set out and do it. Create a strategy, go to school, gather the proper people to help you and keep fighting for your goals. It is you people who are creative and have a strong passion for turning products and services into money machines that will propel our economy to a $17 trillion GDP to a $30 trillion GDP.
To the policy makers and current business leaders: help our young entrepreneurs and business leaders accomplish their goals. Target these young hopefuls early and develop their strengths and skills at an early age so that their potential can be maximized. I implore you, for our future and economic health is dependent on the youth who dream and learn the biggest.