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SHRM Newsletter: A Challenge to Utah's and America's Employers



September 9, 2011

This is Utah SHRM Legal-mail no. 2011-14 prepared for Salt Lake SHRM, the Human Resources Association of Central Utah (HRACU), the Northern Utah Human Resources Association (NUHRA), the Color Country Human Resources Association (CCHRA), the Bridgerland Society for Human Resource Management and Utah at-large members of the national Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).


September 2011- A message from the Utah Human Resources State Council. 

The Council’s President has decided to take on the project outlined below.  As HR professionals, we are uniquely positioned to advocate this challenge to our business colleagues as well as to accept it in our own workplaces and make it happen.  This challenge also will be issued at the Utah Crossroads Conference set for September 27- 28 at the Davis Convention Center.  The conference addresses HR law issues as well as a wide variety of other issues of concern to HR professionals.  For more information about the conference see:

ONE MAKES A DIFFERENCE- a challenge to Utah’s and America’s employers:

The last few years, we have experienced some of the most significant economic problems ever, and certainly the worse since the Great Depression.

There currently are 14 million Americans unemployed, about 9% of the workforce, see United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2, 2011

Yet, there are anywhere from 24-28 million businesses in the US, most of whom employ persons, see US Small Business Administration FAQ

There currently are 100,000 Utahns unemployed, about 7.7% of the workforce, see Utah Workforce Services, see;jsessionid=306A9FD75DA10A477BDDCDDD2BB38185

Yet, there are over 80,000 employers in Utah, see

Each unemployed person is living in his or her own version of hell, wondering how he/she will support self or family.  Truly this is a time of personal and national crisis.

Traditionally, in such times of crisis, we Americans have (pick your favorite metaphor) joined hands, banded together, circled the wagons, etc. to help each other out.  Perhaps nothing demonstrates that spirit more than the heroism and sacrifice we all saw ten years ago during 9/11.  It is time to act again in that fine tradition.

We are not economists, and understand this is probably an overly simplistic approach to the problem of unemployment, but looking at the basic math outlined above, it seems we can eliminate, or at least drastically reduce our unemployment problem if each business could just hire one person.  For instance, most of our employers probably are right sized right now.  However, probably we could afford to hire just one more person who is currently unemployed.  If most businesses took this attitude and action, we could help a number of unemployed persons and perhaps significantly reduce the number of Americans not working and put America back to work. 


WILL YOU BE THAT ONE?  WILL YOU HIRE THAT ONE?  Please accept the challenge…

Thanks from the Utah Human Resources State Council. 

Written by: Employment Attorney, Michael Patrick O'Brien
Utah State and Salt Lake SHRM legal director
Phone: 801-534-7315

Legal-mail is a legal and legislative update service sent out about twice a month to various Utah SHRM members and chapters. As a courtesy to SHRM, the Utah law firm of Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough P.C. underwrites the costs of the service. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Michael Patrick O'Brien.

Disclosure: These updates are merely updates and are not intended to be legal advice. Receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.