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As a new month begins, the job report from last month is released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the surface the numbers seem to reflect a drop in the overall unemployment rate. However, a closer examination of the unemployment percentage provides a much different picture.

The current unemployment rate stands at 7.3 percent, which is the lowest recorded since December of 2008. This low unemployment figure has less to do with an increase in jobs and more to do with individuals giving up the search for employment. The labor-force participation rate measures the number of working-age people that are currently working or looking for a job. The percentage of workers now stands at 63.2 percent, which is the lowest rate since 1978. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 70,000 jobs have been eliminated between June and July of this year.

What is Washington’s answer to this lackluster job market? Congress will face another budget battle when they return to work. The Treasury Department has warned that a new debt ceiling will be reached in October if a budget is not approved. Some in Congress have vowed that the debt ceiling will not be raised nor will new government funding be approved without deep government spending cuts.

In the meantime, Kansans caught in the middle of the unemployment bubble are seeking ways to stay financially solvent. There is no income to infuse their family budgets. These individuals may find hope in a bankruptcy filing. Chapter 13 can create a fresh financial start for those struggling to pay their bills.

Source:, “August Jobs Report: U.S. Creates 169,000 jobs; Unemployment Rate Down to 7.3 percent,” Mark Gongloff, September 6, 2013.