According to the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, during The Great Depression, 25% of all workers were completely out of work, and 37% of all non-farm workers were out of work.
Here are what our rates have looked like for the past year, according to Historical Labor Force/Unemployment Data for
UNITED STATES :
MONTH..........LABOR FORCE.......EMPLOYED.....UNEMPLOYED..UNEMP RATE/SA RATE*
2008 November 154,349,000 143,350,000 10,999,000 7.1% 7.2%
2009 January 153,445,000 140,436,000 13,009,000 8.5% 7.6%
February 153,804,000 140,105,000 13,699,000 8.9% 8.1%
March 153,728,000 139,833,000 13,895,000 9.0% 8.5%
April 153,834,000 140,586,000 13,248,000 8.6% 8.9%
May 154,336,000 140,363,000 13,973,000 9.1% 9.4%
June 155,921,000 140,826,000 15,095,000 9.7% 9.5%
July 156,255,000 141,055,000 15,201,000 9.7% 9.4%
August 154,897,000 140,074,000 14,823,000 9.6% 9.7%
September 153,617,000 139,079,000 14,538,000 9.5% 9.8%
October 153,635,000 139,088,000 14,547,000 9.5% 10.2%
November 153,539,000 139,132,000 14,407,000 9.4% 10.0%
2009 December 152,693,000 137,953,000 14,740,000 9.7% 10.0%
Good news, we are not yet to the unemployment levels of the Great Depression. Bad News, we definitely aren't getting any better. Where I live in Indiana, we were basically the RV/ Manufactured Home Capital of the US! About a year and a half ago, that all started to change. Many people I know, lost jobs. In fact, we are also a few minutes from Michigan, and Michigan's unemployment rate is at 14% unemployment.
I am not usually the bearer of bad news, but this is a topic that I wasn't totally aware of. According to some news sources, I heard things were getting better. Then others said, we were getting worse... I guess, when it all comes down to it, you need to go digging yourself! Find your own information.
So, as to not leave this all doom and gloom... What can WE do to change this? How can we keep ourselves to falling pray to a falling economy?
In my opinion, it all comes down with what you are WILLING to do. In this country, we are totally reliant upon our jobs providing a stable income, then taking our checks to the bank, getting money, then going to Wal-Mart and spending our little hearts out on boxed meals, beverages, and cheaply made clothing. We jump into our vehicle that we still owe an arm and a leg for. We take it all home, throw it into our houses that we are still paying for. And then we stuff ourselves full of this non-nutritious "food". We depend on others (government, grocery super stores, banks, etc) to provide FOR US what WE NEED.
What are YOU willing to do to change the way you live? Are you willing to do anything? Are you content with the way things are now?
What if it all changed? What if Wal-Mart went out of business? What if China stopped sending food and cheaply made clothing to the US? What if the banks ALL went under? What if you could NO LONGER purchase anything on a credit card? What if you had to have cash???
I know there are a lot of "what if's" in that, but it COULD happen! What if it did? Back to the question, are YOU willing to change? Are you ready to STOPPING being reliant upon someone else for virtually everything?
I'm not saying to go all crazy, grab your tents and hide out in a dense forest somewhere... I am saying there are small steps that we all can make, that don't hold us so dependent upon something that could crumble and fall (quickly!).
Here are a few things, I THINK we should all do(or at least work at!):
- Pay off those bills! Do you have a car payment? House payment? Payment on a TV? Pay those bills off! And if you can't pay off that payment on the Television, ask 'how important is this?'. If it isn't really THAT important, get rid of it! Getting debt free will not only free us from owning someone else, but will also free us from bill after bill each week. What if you just had to pay 2 or 3 bills a month? WOW!
- Grow something! Even if you don't want to take care of a garden! Go to you local green house, and get a few things like a tomato plant, a watermelon plant, a pepper plant or some herbs. Plant them in a container on your patio, or in a flowerbed in a sunny spot. Water them like you would water the rest of your landscaping. And watch your plant(s) grow! Gardening doesn't have to be a huge undertaking! Growing SOMETHING is better then nothing! And if you DO want to have a larger garden, go for it! Make sure to plan ahead, and leave your harvest times open to can and freeze! You will be glad you did. There is NOTHING like eating something you (and God!) grew!
- De-clutter! Walk through your house, and take out what you don't want, what is just taking up unnecessary space, or things that are broken or stained and you KNOW you will never fix. Then start a box of things to either giveaway or garage sale. Also start a trash bag! Things taking up space actually do take up energy. Energy to clean, energy to look at and stress at the mess it is making! Make sure to do this in your kid's rooms too! Especially after Christmas! And remember Spring is a great time to have a garage sale and get rid of some of those unwanted items! The you have $$ to apply to bills or making a good investment...
- Make Good investments! Investing in a new couch, when your old one works just fine, is probably NOT the best investment. Investing in something that will help you in the future- GOOD! Examples: Replacing your old, broken appliances with new, energy efficient ones. Invest in some garden tools, to start a garden so your family can eat out of this summer. Invest in a chicken coop, so you can have free eggs! Invest in more insulation for your attic, so all of your warm air doesn't escape into the great outdoors.
- Shop Local! When possible... It is sad to drive through a once thriving town, and to see all of the neat old buildings empty. At one time, this town was a proud, functioning town, full of life and commerce. If possible, shop your small town shops, instead of making a trek into "the big city". Doing this for fresh fruits and veggies in the summer and fall are a great idea too. Keep those farmers and families growing!
- Help your neighbors! In this age, we don't know many of our neighbors. We stick to ourselves. And unless something goes wrong (I always thought there was something wrong with that family!), then no one cares to know anyone else. Sadly, the only people who care to know their neighbors are the "older folks". In this also, we need to support our local food banks. Make it a family challenge to donate a grocery bag full of food each month. In helping other people, God WILL bless you! Plus, it is a great lesson to teach our children.
- Waste less! Look in your refrigerator right now. I mean it! Go look! Now, tell me what you see. Is there anything expired in there? Moldy food? Of course there is SOMETHING bad in there. Now how much money did you just waste? We need to be at least WEEKLY checking out our refrigerator situation- eating left-overs, finishing up that jar of sauce before it grows mold, eating those carrots before they dry out... Wasting less food is going to save us $$ in the future! If for lunch, I go and fix a box of mac-n-cheese, instead of eating last nights left overs, chances are that last nights leftovers will never get eaten. You could have saved the mac-n-cheese for another day, and ate something that will go bad first...