Today is the day we tend to reflect on the past year, and sometimes our lives, and give thanks for what we have. The other 364 days of the year we indulge in that traditional all-American pastime of whining, but for one day --Thanksgiving -- we do our best to remember what's important -- even if our situation is less than ideal.
It's a time to say thanks for our families, our friends, the food on our tables and the other blessings we enjoy. We slow down and enjoy each other's company. We savor the flavors of recipes that very likely have been in our families for generations. While we may indulge in too much turkey and pumpkin pie, at least our focus is on our abundance, not our lack.
Tomorrow, some of us will return to the reality that is our day-to-day lives. Others may begin the bittersweet madness that is holiday shopping. But today we say thanks for all that we have. And, we'll remember, at least for a moment or two, those who don't have it as good as we do.
Alaska is blessed, believe it or not, compared to the rest of the United States. Our state unemployment rate in October was 7.9 percent, below the national unemployment rate of 9.6 percent. And our unemployment rate has dropped from 8.4 percent a year ago.
Our taxes remain the lowest in the nation, as well. hovering around 6.4 percent. The national average is 9.7 percent.
We're waiting for reports on third quarter sales tax revenues, but overall, our local economy seems to have held fast, or at least not lost great ground. Shops and stores are open and the Peninsula's own unemployment rate is down from a year ago.
Certainly, we have our unhappiness and our disagreements. But when you think about it, we also have lots of reasons to be thankful. We have lots of reasons to have hope for an even better future. That's what this day is for.
In short: We've a lot to be thankful for. Happy holidays!
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