By Francisco Gonzalez, JMI Development Director
With an ailing economy, more and more people are out of work. Some are part of the 11 percent of Floridians looking for work. But many others don’t even factor into the unemployment numbers because they’ve simply stop looking for work. Maybe they aren’t unemployed. Maybe they are fun-employed.This is a new term that is describing a group of people that have been laid off and (apparently) have enough funding to make ends meet – perhaps that funding is coming from a spouse, a parent, or simply their personal savings. These folks are finding new and interesting things to do while not employed. Instead of being depressed about not having a job, they are calling themselves “fun-employed.” The typical fun-employed person is young, single, without kids, and without a mortgage, as described by this recent CBS News story.Some of the fun-employed may be kicking back on the beach on these dog days of summer; others are enjoying sports and the outdoors, practicing music, or taking up some other hobby. Others among the fun-employed may be using their “spare time” to read, study, take a class, go back to college for another degree, volunteer with a charitable organization, or start a business from home. There is even a website devoted to fun-employment which offers ideas on “things to do while other people are at work.”Judging from past experience, many successful entrepreneurs and new companies got their start during a recession. It’s when people are unemployed that they start getting more creative. They have spare time and start investing in new projects and ideas they previously did not have time for before. A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation shows that during this recession the only job growth has been driven entirely by start-ups.This study seems to also confirm that bailing out companies that are “too big to fail” is wrong-headed. Larger, older companies tend to destroy jobs, while start-ups create jobs. Our society should be putting an investment in start-ups. Who knows the creator of the next Google or Facebook could be someone who is currently “fun-employed.”