Small Business Owners React to Jobs Report

Friday, October 05, 2012

The American economy added 114,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent — a level not seen since Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2008. 

Explaining the numbers are Charlie Herman, economics editor for WNYC Radio, and two small business owners.  Doug Pettigrew is owner of the computer support company Electronic Brain Solutions in Michigan, and Nadeem Mazen is the CEO of and an instructor at MIT’s Sloan Entrepreneurship Center.

These numbers are a positive sign for the economy, not just because unemployment has dropped below 8 percent, but because jobs were actually created. 

"To be counted as unemployed, you have to be actively looking for a job," Herman explains. "If you stop looking for that job, you're not considered part of the workforce any more, and that's a trend we've been seeing for several months in a row." The number of jobs created then, is perhaps a more important number to consider than the falling unemployment rates. This means that people are actually being hired, rather than just giving up. 

Doug Pettigrew and Nadeem Mazen confirm this as small business owners themselves, both saying that they've been able to hire new employees.  

"I'm picking up a lot more work — more than I can handle," Pettrigrew says. "I'm adding a couple other folks in to do some work." 

Nadeem Mazen too says that he's seen more work in his own business. "From where we were in the recession, there's really no place to go but up," he says. "For us, it was just a matter of time. We were just being patient." In the last year, Mazen's business has grown significantly, from 3 employees to 8. 

Charlie Herman says this could be a sign that the tables are turning - and indeed, the jobs report could have consequences for the election in November. "For the Obama campaign, it gives them something to try and at least change the conversation away from the debate earlier this week, and say, 'Look, we are succeeding on the economy.'" 


Charlie Herman, Nadeem Mazen and Doug Pettigrew

Produced by:

Maggie Penman, Ali Rahman and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [4]

Tom Crisp from uws manhattan

unemployment began a steady rise in October of 2006, climbing from 4.4% then to 7.8% when BHO took office in Jan 2009. It peaked at 10% in October of that year and has steadily declined since then, now at 7.8% (not the 8+ that Romney quoted, by the way.) Since employment is a "lagging statistic", it's fair to say that the administration's policies have, at the least, stemmed job loss and prevented depression, unemployment approaching 20%, and worse. But, clearly, though the number may be the same as Jan 09, it is far better than Oct 09. And it's realistic to say that the administration would not have been expected to IMMEDIATELY turn around employment.

Oct. 05 2012 03:12 PM
Sean from Portland, Oregon

When referring to the Unemployment rates, why do you use the term "People who have stopped looking for work" to account for people who have exausted their employment insurance benefits?

Poeple who have exausted their benefits DO NOT stop looking for work! If anything they are even more motivated to find work.

I can understand why Fox News would use this term to help define/justify the 47% comments. I don't understand why our liberal media outlets use this term.

If this statistic is based on a survey, as was stated on the program this morning, than please diferentiate between the two and quantify this statement with some actual numbers.

Oct. 05 2012 01:24 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Republican spin could be:Obama asks Democrats to hire people for a month to bolster Employment numbers till after elections,..

And even if this spin were true, people would be happy to have this work, even for a short period of time.

Oct. 05 2012 10:57 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Donald Trump says that the effective unemployment rate is 21%. Among certain communities even the administration's numbers have it at %15.

Oct. 05 2012 07:58 AM

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