The U.S. economy added 262,000 jobs in October, the most in a year, amid renewed hiring after hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The unemployment rate, at 4.1%, is now the lowest since 2000.
Yet why, you might ask, are people still out of a job? Why did the share of working-age Americans in the labor force drop to 62.7%, leaving tens of millions on the sidelines?
What we’re talking about is known as the labor-force participation rate and it is perhaps a more accurate gauge of the economy than the straight-up unemployment rate. The participation rate includes people who’ve given up, don’t want to, or can’t work.
In our way of thinking, the best explanation for the drop may actually be good news: the result of more people returning to school for training that, in the end, will make them better job candidates and yield higher earnings.
We all know that globalization and technology have created an economy that demands more education in order to be successful. Those not participating in the labor market, it stands to reason, are responding by getting more degrees to stay competitive.
In some cases, employers desperate for workers are providing some of that training themselves.
Oakwood Homes, a Denver-based homebuilder, recently started a foundation to fund the Colorado Homebuilding Academy and expects to train about 200 workers in the year ahead.
The Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs has a construction career internship program that will no doubt help, too.
Much more will need to be done. Colorado State University researchers expect a 38 percent increase in vacancies in the construction trade in Colorado by 2025.
If you’re an employer in need of labor, let us know. Apprentice Personnel places thousands of laborers and others in the construction trade every year.
About the Author
Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.