A workforce like none other

by Tom Cole

Every year, on the first Monday in September, most Americans take an extra day to relax, travel or spend time with their family, friends and loved ones. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, this Labor Day will be observed differently than usual. By no fault or choice of their own, many hardworking Americans have fallen on difficult times and are out of work. During these unprecedented circumstances, I encourage you to remember that these dark days are only temporary. Indeed, our country has proven its strength, tenacity and resilience time and again throughout our history. And I am confident we will do so again.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the observance of Labor Day commemorates the “creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” While the pandemic has temporarily hit pause on business as usual, I am confident that it is our American job creators and their dedicated workers who will help rebuild our economy to once again be the envy of the world. And I am proud that President Trump is working hard to safely reopen the economy and get Americans back to work as we race to find a viable vaccine for COVID-19.

Remember, America is the land of opportunity, where you can choose or change your own destiny with a great idea, hard work and determination. Indeed, the people of the United States are known for their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that can build a fruitful life from the ground up.

Because of the opportunity and encouragement provided in America, many have sought their share of the American dream by starting or running a small business. We owe much of our country’s success, past and present, to small businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors. In times of great crisis, these fine Americans often offer a glimpse of hope for a better tomorrow.

Throughout this pandemic, Congress and the Trump Administration have put several measures in place to help small businesses weather the storm and sustain their workforces. In fact, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in the U.S. House of Representatives recently reported that because of the CARES Act, more than 51 million jobs were saved by Paycheck Protection Program loans, protecting millions of workers, particularly those in underserved and rural communities. I remain hopeful that congressional leaders and the Trump Administration will deliver additional relief to protect and sustain the potential of the American workforce as a whole.

While there’s still a long way to go in order to restore our economy after the hard and fast hits inflicted by the coronavirus, there are encouraging signs that recovery is already underway. For the last four consecutive months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported job growth, showing that more Americans are returning to work. In fact, BLS most recently reported that more than 1.3 million jobs were added to the U.S. economy in August and that the national unemployment rate yet again declined from the prior month – this time to 8.4 percent. 

Although this Labor Day might not include parades, trips or large gatherings, I encourage you to spend quality time with your family and loved ones or check in on them with a call or text. As you might know, September is Suicide Prevention Month and sadly, over the last few months, our country has seen an alarming spike in mental illness and suicide.

Whether they are battling the pain and fear caused by job loss, isolation, social unrest or the uncertainty surrounding the future, I encourage you to walk alongside your loved ones and be there for them.

And if you are struggling with feelings of hopelessness or having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Despite the ugly wrath of the coronavirus pandemic, America’s dynamic, diverse and innovative workforce is truly one like none other. I encourage you to remain hopeful and confident in the American spirit. These hard times will not last forever.

Comanche Times
United for Oklahoma - September