January 25, 2012
Job creation, the jobless rate, and the job market for graduates all are consistently in the news these days, especially as the election season heats up and a now-completed 2011 yields more statistical data about where our economy stands.
For the first time in a few years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment news is encouraging, with the nationwide unemployment rate falling to 8.5% in December and some 1.6 million jobs being added to payrolls in all of 2011. These numbers admittedly are far from ideal; unemployment needs to be far lower, and job creation greater, for the economy to truly hit its stride. But there are marked improvements from the lows of our three-year recession, and most economic schools of thought indicate the sustained economic turnaround for which we have long waited.
One area where job growth has remained relatively robust is health care. More than 300,000 health care jobs were created in 2011, with health-care's year-end percentage of overall job growth nearing 20%, or roughly one out of every five new jobs. This is an extraordinary number, revealing not only the pressing and ongoing need for well-trained health professionals, but also the aging nature of our population and the improvements in medicine and care that are allowing us to live longer, healthier lives.
For nearly 35 years, WesternU has been a critical part not only of that emphasis on better care, but on the overall health-care economy. Our graduates go to work in hospitals - for people and for animals - in clinics, in private practices, in homes, and in a myriad of places where their skills are needed. They are employees, to be sure, but they also very often are employers themselves, setting up their own practices, clinics, hospitals or health-services firms, then hiring fellow professionals to help them carry out their mission.
When our political leaders speak of "job creators," the image that tends to accompany those words is one of big manufacturing or industrial firms. But the truth of the matter is that a "job creator" is anyone who has the initiative, wherewithal and courage to go into business for themselves and hire other people to work alongside them. Over the past three-plus decades, this group has included literally thousands of WesternU graduates, who very often are responsible not only for the job duties they assume in our economy, but for creating more opportunities for others with those same skills.
As our nation continues to emerge from a dark fiscal period, I am confident that the lamp of health-care leadership - including the critical role it plays in our economy - will continue to shine brightly as it is carried by WesternU graduates and by all those who make compassionate, expert care for others their calling.
As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU's Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.
My best to you all,