On Labor Day, mixed emotions

Regardless of whatever else they might do in connection with the observance of Labor Day, central Pennsylvania residents should take a few moments to ponder developments on the jobs front and to reflect on their confidence or pessimism regarding what might lie ahead.

That’s the least they can do on this federal-state observance, originally set aside to honor the economic and social contributions of workers, but which has evolved mostly into a celebration of the unofficial end of summer, the unofficial start of Christmas shopping as encouraged by the many Labor Day sales, and for many workers just a day away from the workplace.

It would be great if Labor Day had the power to inspire many of those who have remained content not to actively seek work to begin doing so.

Generous unemployment and welfare benefits are an excuse for some people not to seek work; they feel they make nearly as much or more than what they would earn at some jobs.

They refuse to acknowledge how some lower-paying jobs can be a steppingstone to better-paying, more stable employment.

Leading up to this holiday came news from Washington about new regulations aimed at helping veterans and disabled people find work.

For the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Labor Day means lawmakers soon will be gearing up for their fall agenda, no doubt with the same partisanship mentality that stymied progress on important business such as new transportation legislation earlier this year.

Unfortunately this Labor Day, great optimism does not prevail, despite improvements in the unemployment rate. Many workers continue to worry about their next paycheck and about the financial condition of their employer. Many workers do not trust that their financial situation will improve.

Therefore, Labor Day 2013 represents a mixed bag of emotions like in so many other recent years.

Still, people in central Pennsylvania have many reasons to be grateful for the contributions of workers. It is workers who have made this part of America such a desirable place to live.