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OK. So we've all seen the numbers from Friday – the national unemployment rate fell just a hair (a tenth of a point registers as a hair to me) to 7.6 percent and already the sequester is being blamed. Those automatic federal spending cuts just went into effect March 1, if you recall.
Two other numbers in the monthly report stand out: only 88,000 jobs added, though those jobs are significant to both the people hired and the people doing the hiring, of course; and 803,000 drop-outs, the so-called discouraged workers who stop looking for jobs because they believe they won't find work. That latter number is the real reason the unemployment rate fell.
And here's one more number to think about: 1 million.
That's how many servicemen and -women are expected to leave the military over the next five years and enter the civilian workforce.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? But actually, it could be the kind of opportunity for your business you haven't seen in a long time. Think about what you want in an employee. Discipline? Check. Work ethic? Check. A team builder as well as a team player? Check and check. Mission focused? Ditto.
The only quality lacking in these prospects, according to a report out this week, is the ability to explain how their military training translates into the new jobs they are qualified for. And many are qualified.
That's where you come in. Lack of skills is a top reason employers give today for not hiring; when it comes to ex-military, maybe there's also some lack of vision. Those who have put their lives on the line for their country deserve a second look when their resumes come across your desk.
You've built your career on the ability to think creatively. Here's a chance to exercise that talent.
Speaking of creativity, did you ever consider that exercising your brain could strengthen your business?
The look ahead:
The focus of Fast Forward this week is on money – how to get it, how to manage it.
On a more practical level, maybe, the SBA will host the Southeastern Pennsylvania Lender-Borrower Matchmaking event in King of Prussia on April 16. The SBA is encouraging entrepreneurs at every stage of business development, from start-up to going concern, to attend the free "one-stop, speed dating" event from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel Valley Forge at 1160 First Ave. To register, go here.
The second annual family business survey conducted by the business department at Elizabethtown College and The S. Dale High Center for Family Business came out last week. Not surprisingly, family businesses are still feeling the stress of the recession, as they offer up their top challenges
A third of those business cited health care costs among their top concerns. We all know big changes are here, with more on the horizon. But nearly everyone has more questions than knowledge.
The Business Journal on Friday will host a live chat with David Vassilaros, director of health care reform and regulatory affairs at Capital BlueCross and a member of our panel of experts with our online Health Care Reform Resource Center. He will field reader questions on current events and the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate from 9 to 10 a.m. Sign up here for an email reminder. (Be sure to scroll down to the live chat window.)
In next week's print edition, health care reporter Heather Stauffer will have a story about the sticker shock that is starting to hit area employers as they realize what the ACA is going to mean to their bottom lines and how employees may be affected.
Hope Stephan is editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Fast Forward will usually be posted on Sundays to give you a jump on the week ahead. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.