Today, the United Nations and some numbers groups have declared World Statistics Day. And today, the world is full of numbers that measure how we are faring, what we are producing and the losses we experience.
As a numbers whiz in high school and a business editor for years, I’m up to the challenge. So I’m offering five telling statistics that cry out and ask each of us to give another person a hand, a job, some encouragement.
- 6.1 million Americans are considered long term unemployed – out of work for a half year or longer.
- Some 9.5 million U.S. workers were stuck with part-time jobs when they really want more hours – and their number is growing.
- The jobless rate for veterans who have served since 2001 was 10.2 percent last year, higher than the civilian rate.
- Around 43.6 million Americans – including 15.5 million children – lived in poverty last year. One in five children is considered poor.
- Women are CEOs of 12 Fortune 500 companies and hold the top job at 26 of the Fortune 1000 companies. And women’s wages, while catching up, still lag men’s – even when they’re in comparable jobs for the same tenure.
Certainly there are other important statistics that measure our economy – from the S&P 500 index to the prime interest rate to how much profit your employer earned in the latest quarter.
Yet I believe the best measure of our times may be how much kindness we bring to each other and to the people injured by the sharp statistics of difficult times.