Matter of Perception

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Perception can be a very funny thing. Depending on the viewpoint taken on the same situation, different conclusions can be taken. The cat above sees itself as the King of the Jungle but the rest of us sees it as a house cat.

Information reported to you can be interpreted in different ways, depending on who is doing the interpretation. The United States Department of Labor is currently reporting an unemployment rate of 6.3% for the month of May 2014 (1).

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That number seems to be great upon first observation, but when you dive into it a little bit deeper, you will find something that isn’t so good. The United States labor participation rate (people currently working or actively looking for work) is at an all time low of 62.8% of the population above 16 years old (2).Image

In other words, 37.2% of the US population, above 16 years old, is not actively looking for work. There are some possible reasons for this. The baby boom generation is starting to retire which would drive the participation rate down. More people are returning back to school to upgrade their skills, which means they are not currently working or looking for work. And lastly, a portion would be people who stopped looking for work since they have given up.  If you add these people to the mix of the unemployed, you would get a truer number reflecting the unemployed in the US.

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As with any number that you are given, drill down to look at the specifics. Find out what numbers or methodology was used to develop that number. The real story, the real cause of the situation will be found there.

As a leader, you are charged with the responsibility of giving the clearest information to all that you have relationships with. Not only will it cause the proper actions to be taken at the proper time, but also ensure that everyone has the tools and knowledge to do the best that they can.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave me a comment.

Kevin

(1) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000, Published June 14, 2014

(2) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000, Published June 14, 2014

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