While our national holiday is in place to rightfully celebrate advances in the labor movement since the industrial revolution, let’s also remember that this is not a paid holiday for millions of workers. In fact, in many cases it is extra work for no additional compensation. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration 44% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product is produced by 32.5 million small businesses. 81% of those are solopreneurs / owner operators. Those with employees produce 65% of all new jobs.
Big Media loves to report on growing angst of workers in this or that industry as they battle corporate greed, level playing fields, and improve their economic slice of the pie. Lead stories on the TV news networks tonight will no doubt cover parades and celebrations that have taken place earlier today as well as achievements and challenges of big labor.
As we salute big labor advances and mark the end of summer let’s also raise a glass to the small business owner and operator who is likely working today and does not enjoy a paid holiday let alone paid vacation, sick time or minimum wage. My calculation is that this represents about 26.3 million workers in the U.S. based on federal government statistics. The U.S. economy, which has provided much of the innovation enjoyed since Ben Franklin flew his kite and taught Europe and the colonies that electricity could be harnessed, has been driven by small business. In fact, big labor would not exist at all if small business founders had not taken the risk on an idea that they had a burning passion to try to implement. The same statistics show that 50% fail within 5 years. Yet many try again. So, the next time you see a clip of our elected officials kissing babies and taking credit at a Labor Day Parade, raise a glass to those who took the risk to start the business in the first place!