Face of ‘labor’ shifting in 21st Century

Published 11:00 pm Friday, August 30, 2013

When Labor Day was created more than 115 years ago, the American worker was a different creature.

Industrious, hard-working men and women who labored in manufacturing and industry. They worked hard – sometimes too hard, too long – for an honest day’s pay and the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Today, the American worker is much harder to define. Service and technical jobs have replaced manufacturing and industry in many places. A tightening economy, an increasing dependence on technology and the growth of outsourcing have brought seismic shifts to the workforce.

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Add to that the bleak realities of our national economy during the past five years – including a national unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in July and millions of underemployed workers trying to eek out a living – and Labor Day takes on a new perspective in 2013.

To thrive and be successful in today’s marketplace, the American worker must evolve and grow. He, or she, must be adaptable; smart; quick to learn; willing to work hard; efficient; and accessible. Businesses and industries are demanding more from their workforces, and lucky for us their finding those needs met right here in Pike County. Industries leaders – from defense to transportation to technology – echo a common sentiment: the workforce in Pike County is among the hardest working they’ve seen.

The face of “labor” may be shifting in the 21st Century, but one thing we know is this: In Pike County, our workers are growing, adapting and ready to meet new challenges and opportunities.