There is enough in the October employment situation report to enhance the arguments of bears (pessimists) and bulls (optimists), depending on perspective.
Total non-farm payrolls were estimated to be only 161,000, more than 15,000 below pre-report expectations; however, September employment was revised upward by 35,000. Private payrolls increased 142,000 which was more than 35,000 below expectations; however, September private employment was increased 21,000.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5.0 percent. But the size of the labor force (those employed or looking for a job) fell by 195,000 even though the civilian labor population increased by 230,000. The month-to-month increase in average hourly earnings. at 0.4 percent, was one-third higher than forecasts; but it enhances the odds that the Fed will increase interest rates in December.
Anxiety and fear will change perspective. Even though this article is written before the presidential election, issues facing the post-election electorate are obvious. Approximately half the country will be excited and enthused and half will be disappointed, worried, anxious or fearful.
People will not only fear the successful candidate's actions and policies; they will fear the potential actions of others. Fear, perhaps unjustified, may have the face of civil unrest, the economy, the future of our children and family, the FBI, the president, Congress, the actions of other nations or even God.
Concern, in some instances, may be justified by facts, but fear is never justified for a Bible-believing believer. Anxiety has a way of growing into fear. Fear can lead to hopelessness, helplessness and faithlessness. It can lead to actions which are not in accord with the kingdom and move us from a life of significance to insignificance. No circumstance can move us from the love of God. Nothing, except ourselves, can keep us from being fruitful and accomplishing all that God has called us to do.
The Bible gives clear instructions on what we are to do to overcome fear. Specifically, we are to:
1. Trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not rely exclusively on our minds.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5-6, MEV).
2. Understand that our Father is concerned about all of the issues of our lives. Don't worry about life necessities such as what we will eat, drink or wear.
"Therefore, take no thought, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (For the Gentiles seek after all these things.) For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:31-33, MEV).
3. Walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (sin). Perfect love casts out fear. Love is a fruit of the Spirit.
"I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16, MEV).
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not perfect in love" (1 John 4:18, MEV).
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
4. Recognize that fear can be a spirit and that the Holy Spirit providing power, love and self-control is the antidote.
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7, MEV).
Regardless of the circumstances, let us banish fear and move forward in faith and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
"The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." – Nelson Mandela
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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