American Morning

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September 7th, 2009
12:29 PM ET

Celebrate Labor Day, but not the labor market

By CNN's Christine Romans

It's Labor Day 2009, but it feels more like 1983. That's the last time such a large percentage of America's work force was unemployed.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis urges the unemployed not to become discouraged."]

The nation's jobless rate of 9.7 percent is troubling enough but it dramatically understates the real depth of the problem. There are between 25 and 30 million people in this country who are ready, willing and able to work full-time, but can't find work.

Think of that – in the world's most powerful economy, the size of the out-of-work population is slightly more than that of New Jersey, South Carolina and Illinois combined.

Here's how it breaks down. There are 14.9 million classified as unemployed. Another 9.1 million are considered "under-employed" – meaning they want full-time work and are actively looking for it but have settled for part-time work instead.

Yet another 2.3 million are called "marginally attached" to the work force. They are ready and able to work and looked for a job sometime in the last year but stopped looking in the last four weeks. They are not counted in the nation's unemployment rate.

And of those "marginally attached," there are 758,000 "discouraged" workers, who have simply stopped looking for a job because they think there is no work for them.

Among those who are not counted: Stay-at-home moms who need to go back to work to feed their families. Discouraged workers who have struggled to find employment since the last recession ended in 2003. Those who have already retired, but have not worked in several years, and now must go back to work because their home values have dropped and their savings plans have taken a hit. Add up the uncounted and those who are counted, and that's 26.3 million workers.

Those are the faces not even counted in the unemployment rate. Within the jobless numbers, there are hundreds of thousands of new college graduates entering the job market for the very first time and entering it unemployed.

There are factory workers and roofers and retail clerks and bankers. There are small business owners who have held on through two grueling years but couldn't keep their businesses going any longer. There are music teachers and guidance counselors and school aides axed by school boards because budget cuts mean something has to give.

And the group with the highest percentage unemployed are teenagers. Teen unemployment now tops 25 percent, a record high.

It's a major political challenge for this White House.

In a Labor Day interview on CNN's "American Morning," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis first noted the downturn began in December 2007, predating this administration, then urged the unemployed not to become discouraged. Watch Labor Secretary Solis talk of job creation Video

"There are, you know, flickers of hope out there and I would just hope people please, come by and visit our one-shop centers where people can get free information," Solis said.

The stimulus puts $25 extra in each unemployment check and anyone receiving jobless benefits is eligible for subsidized COBRA health insurance. And Solis says, time-released stimulus spending and new investments in green technology will ultimately help the jobs market. She urged people to retrain for health care and green technology jobs.

"The stimulus is working." And, "re-train for health care and green jobs." It's been the mantra of the Obama administration since February. Yet the labor market is undergoing a deep and lasting downturn that is being felt in big cities and small towns and is no garden-variety labor contraction. In fact, it began long before this recession started. Wages have been stagnant and more than 2 million good-paying manufacturing jobs have moved to cheaper labor markets.

Many express frustration that they cannot find these "green jobs" or they are not qualified for them. And the fact is, the average starting pay for available green jobs is $12 an hour. Secretary Solis hailed the jobs created in health care. It's true: it is a growing part of the labor market. But the 28,000 jobs created in August in the health care field barely offset the jobs lost in construction and manufacturing and are mostly much lower paid.

It's a grim picture made less so only because the pace of mass layoffs appears to be slowing and the panic in the financial markets has eased.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in an exclusive interview with CNN International, says the economy is back from the edge.

"We have brought the economy back from the edge of the abyss and you are starting to see the necessary conditions for a recovery but we don't have recovery yet – we have recovery underway, but we don't quite yet have the conditions for a self-sustaining economy led by private demand, which is what we're all committed to achieve."

The question now: when will that private demand start creating jobs? When will hundreds of billions in global stimulus dollars translate into actual growth? Will companies create jobs here? Or ramp up production in lower-cost international factories first? Will the jobs that come back have health benefits?

We know the questions. We just don't have the answers yet. Stay tuned.

Program Note: Christine Romans is "Minding Your Business" each weekday on CNN's "American Morning," from 6-9 a.m. ET.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. SuzEQ!

    I saw the same thing a very long time ago when i was working in another profession - hiring visaed hospital personnel was commonplace. And quite a few of them were working in our facility. Many visaed nurses, techs, etc are still coming here and working in our hospitals.

    This is a group that sends money home - uh, how did that benefit our economy then and how is it benefitting our economy now? Anybody else besides me hear that great big sucking sound?

    September 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  2. nancy

    Come on Department of Labor Secretary Solis ~~

    Pack all the illegals back to where they came from and tax the heck out of companies that still insist on using foreign folks to do American jobs.

    Get that WALL built.

    September 8, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  3. nancy


    "hooverguide September 7th, 2009 1:42 pm ET

    Not only are we, the people, past discouraged, many of us are homeless and hungry.
    Those of us who do have the resources to sustain life are looking for other options to help us thrive. We cannot afford to keep our homes, we can’t afford the fees for rent, we can’t afford to maintain a healthy lifestyle and we can’t afford health insurance. Perhaps other nations would like to take advantage of our work ethic and years of experience and put us to work. I can only speak for this couple, but we are are seriously considering living outside the U.S."

    September 8, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  4. Carolyn Askew

    Thank you Christine for telling the truth. Your numbers are more real than most out there. If the system counted like you do they will have to continue paying benefits. Very soon they are going to start to play with the numbers and through people off the unemployment roles. Meanwhile they still have billions of stimulus unspent and have not created jobs to put people back to work! Transparency. How about this for transparency PEOPLE ARE STIRVING! Food stamps enrollment went up but everyone still can not get them. People still fall through the cracks.If your on unemployment your not working so why can't you get food stamps? Out of that check you have to do everything you did with a pay check only with much less.Show and Tell. I say Slow and Tell! The SLOBAMA Administration.

    September 8, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  5. Carroll Nace

    You tell people not to get Discouraged! Just how do you expect us to feel when we can't even feed our own families! SMILE AND WALK AWAY?

    September 8, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  6. Lin

    Folks this is a very trying time for our citizens. My Mother, now 81, was a young girl during the great depression of the US and she said it is coming again. I believe she is correct. A government with so many billions of tax dollars to lend big business, i.e banks, mortgage companies, etc. but can not turn that money directly back to the people who gave it to them will never know how to stimulate the economy.

    We work and pay taxes for what???? So the politicians can spend, spend, spend. This country is heading for serious problems if the American Citizens ever really sees what the government is doing to you and for you. When you can no longer work because there are no jobs, and there is no homes because you can not pay your rent or mortgage, you become dependent on the government right? We will not only belong to them at that point, but you will be enslaved by them even more than you are now with the tax system.

    Pay attention, your entire life depends on you being aware of what they are doing.

    September 8, 2009 at 6:36 am |
  7. Rocketman

    I have read some of the best comments here–on either side. I like this because there should only be one side to the issue of jobs. To begin with, things always change. That is why I like the idea of good unemployment benefits good educational help, and good health care.

    Yes, I did get some attitude at Walmart when started there at age 52. However, what those losers think does not matter. I took their insecurity for what it was. They knew I studying at the local college. In fact, only health problems kept me from taking graduate offers, including one as an intern in DC .

    Moreover, I have come to one conclusion about our situation. We need to shake off the deeply ingrained Pavlovian response to buzz words like: progressive, socialist, and even populist (I can even deal with crazy populists–if they get over the idea of shooting and terrorizing doctors).

    To the point, the means of production does and always will affect the economic system–we do not mostly farm anymore do we? In the future, people who do drudge work will be replaced by machines. Is progress a bad thing?–I say no. I know that humans have abilities that no machine will ever have. If all else fails, humans can just peruse their creative passions. Why not? Is it not true that labor demands have forced the advent of technology? Or would it be better to carry dirt in a basket for lack of a wheel barrow?

    In the meantime, those of you who were smugly working and dittoing Rush may need to build some character and follow his advice, "take any job you can get and be usefull to your boss." –(except the ones who want sex). I went to the WalMart; I doubt that others are too good to do likewise–just make certain that the pitifully undereducated losers there do not know that you are one of the best in your field. They will feel threatened. Many of them know that they are products of locally controlled schools. (brain-washed-suck-ups).

    September 8, 2009 at 1:55 am |
  8. maddog49


    Tim Geithner talks of a "...self-sustaining economy led by private demand..." However, the administration is really pushing public sector employment with the Cap And Trade bill and the Health Care Reform. Over a million people will have to be hired to make sure that companies and individuals are following all of the new rules. The reasons that this strategy is bad are:

    1) The new government employees would be doing work that doesn't contribute to the nation's GDP. They don't produce or sell popular consumer goods like jeans, iPods or hamburgers. They sure can consume such items themselves, which will drive up prices of consumer goods.

    2) When you fund the public sector, you do so at the expense of the private sector. Either there is shortage of capital or the Federal Reserve figuratively prints more money, which is inflationary. The shortage in capital could come from the Treasury borrowing a lot of the available money, or from taxing the private sector more.

    3) Business owners will feel harrassed by government agents checking up on them about carbon emissions and whether or not the health care insurance they have for their employees meets new federal standards. This could mean fewer employers and fewer jobs in the United States.

    Does Geithner realize that the adminstration for which he works is moving in the opposite direction from his stated goal?


    It is not a solution to have all the presently unemployed people start new government careers. [This is not to be confused with giving a temporary handout to those who are truly starving.]

    About 50% of the federal budget is borrowed, mostly from foreign governments. Federal Reserve Bank Chief Ben Bernanke has more than doubled the money supply since Oct 1, 2008. There figures to be double digit inflation in the next few years. Then, foreign governments won't buy the Treasury bonds and the Federal Reserve couldn't either because it would need to raise interest rates to fight inflation. The federal government would run out of money, leading to a massive layoff of government employees.

    And no, raising taxes won't solve the problem. The economy would just slow down even more.


    o Stabilize the dollar. Stop inflating the dollar.

    o Do not subject businesses to onerous new regulations.
    o Scuttle Cap & Trade altogether.
    o Don't micromanage companies and individuals about health
    care in the name of reform.

    o No more subsidies to favor one company over another or one
    industry over other industries. This cuts down on monopolies.

    o No more bailouts for failing companies. Let the loser be cut up
    and the pieces taken over by more competently managed
    companies. Don't let loser companies hang around, especially
    big ones.

    o Size the tax rates so that the overhead is cheaper in the U.S. than
    it is in other countries.

    o Re-size the federal government so that it can be funded solely by
    the available tax revenue. This involves combining departments
    and chopping them down. Workers have to move from the public
    sector to the private sector. Overseas troops need to be brought
    home, too.

    o Take the interest rate control away from the Federal Reserve
    Bank, and let the market determine interest rate. This way, money
    will dry up if Wall Street goes berserk over the latest exotic

    o Clearly, the road is hard, which is why it has not been traveled.
    Why consider it now? Because, as discussed in the previous
    section, the federal government is likely to crash in the next few


    Neither Obama, Geithner or Bernanke will acknowledge that any inflation threat exists. This means:

    o No preventive measures.

    o No plan of recovery when the problem hits.

    Inflation indexed payments like Social Security benefits and California income tax brackets are having deflation adjustments based on data going back to last year. However, my first hand experience is that inflation is already here: Gasoline has gone up from $2/gal to $3/gal since last Christmas. Every favorite restaurant or restaurant chain has increased prices by about 10% this year. Sports and concert tickets are more expensive.

    In fact, with the economy either contracting or growing very slowly, we have had Stagflation this year.

    September 8, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  9. Sharma

    What a lot sad sad stories. America has decimated the world with its globalism for decades, raping other countries of their resources and brains, and then setting up sweat-shops in Mexico, China and India .. and now complain that all your jobs are disappearing. Ha! Look around you! Over 50% of your engineers are foreigners! Over 75% of your graduating Ph.D Engineers are foreigners. Soon, all MANAGERS are going to be foreigners. These managers hire more and more of our own. You cant stop it, because the gready CEO's love it! And, those managers set up shop in the homelands, where they can hire and train engineers for 1/13th the cost of a lazy American. The CEO's love it! The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP dot com) did a critical study, which showed that for every H-1B foreigner hired, 5 more jobs were created. Ergo – Foreigners (H-1B's) create jobs. Thus, the foreigners are smarter, work harder, and created America's high-tech industry. MyVisaJobs says that 2,702,672 high-tech jobs have been filled with foreigners. Thus, by the NFAP, that means foreigners created another 13.5 MILLION jobs. Yes, I will have fries with that! Please wash my Z4, and mow my lawn. Uh oh, two more jobs to create! Ahh, please shine the floor, and go fight a good war.
    China already owns the USA debt, and owns nearly the entire industrial base. India runs all the IT and critical systems. All your banking support is done in India! America has spent itself into oblivion. China and India are excluded from NATO ... hmmm, maybe there is a reason. Maybe that is why India buys weapons from Russia, and collaborates on missile development? Ah-ha! China, Russia and India: North-Euro-Asia-Treaty-Organization (NEATO)!

    September 7, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  10. jay m

    Stop cooperate greed and put tariffs back on imports, no one can compete with slave labor.

    September 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  11. richard bass

    regarding the bush era; corruption at the top leads to the same all across board , heres how my employer saved money , paniced by a bad economy they laid off 30% of the factory ,yet still took in the same amount of orders, forcing the workers to do lots of overtime so they didn't have to pay as much in benifits, or carry workmans comp insurance on the people who were laid off, filling the pockets of our executives, and c.e.o., this is an outrage, we have effectivly been reduced to slaves, this practice does not create jobs , its detrimental to our family's, to our health, to our pride, to our patriotism, and to uor economy. our employers are our owners.iso standards cripple our manufacturing sector,poor productivity, is never the workers fault.

    September 7, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  12. DogMattic

    Senator John McCain supports removing the cap on H-1B entirely, to allow unlimited foreigners to take American jobs – according to "Compete American", the cartel of 200 wage-fixing hi-tech companies. 'Compete America's companies exhibit rank hypocrisy to say they are Pro-America, while laying off Americans and hiring foreigners.

    My company just jettisoned 3600 Americans ... and is applying for about 232 MORE foreigners through H-1Bs. They already have 9000 foreign Engineers! I was one of those flushed ... after 15 years dedicated service, multiple promotions and 12 years serving my country in the US Navy, goodwill missions in 20 countries etc.

    I'm all for hiring the best & brightest ... which according to my performance reviews, MSEE GPA & publications, includes me and the other Americans laid-off!

    Now, after 8 months, 100's of applications to jobs for which I'm way overqualified, I cant get anything! Now I'm begging to work for FREE for months now. Unbelievable. The racism is rampant – and the DOL and DOJ could care less.

    Anybody need a Naval Anti-Terrorist trained, shot-twice, Masters-Degreed, Battleship-navigating, loyal servant to help design your world-class semiconductor chips for FREE? Want someone to program your Tactical Information Command and Control system for FREE? How about, automate your refrigerator factory ... for FREE! Or, design swarm-robots? Want an optimized distributed parallel computing system? Is ALL FREE .... if I could just find a company that isnt packed with foreigners who apparently dont realize we have a tradition of anti-discrimination here in the USA.

    September 7, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  13. SuzEQ!

    And ageism exists. Plain and simple.

    Perhaps the hiring manager cannot tell your exact age but that person can sure tell that you are NOT in the same age "Demo" as what is working in his department.

    That stinks on ice. We know it; they know it - but it's going to be what the hiring manager wants, period.

    I am pretty certain that I am not being hired because of age. Every single one of my interviews have been alike: the hiring manager will come out, say hello - and then the hiring manager will more or less shut down right there.

    I will get several minutes' worth of blah de blah about the company, the job being offered (I can get this nonsense from their website or job ad) and then a couple of token questions: "How far of a commute do you have?" or something like "You're okay with setting up spreadsheets for the boss?" Then there'll be several more of filler blah de blah consisting of still more facts about the job or company... and then the interview is over. I am kept anywhere from 7 to 13 minutes. And I never hear back from the company ever again.

    No questions about my job experience are asked; I am asked nothing about my skill set. Nor am I asked "Why are you no longer employed at XYZ Incorporated?" I was laid off due to a business turndown.

    This is interest when you're a candidate? no it is not. You can see the interview is to no avail.

    I do what I can to "grab the mike" and mention as much as I can about what my last job experience consisted of, how my skills tie in with their job - it's to no avail. They already made their mind up when they see me.

    My clothes are fine; so is my overall appearance. I do not have BO, or bad breath nor am I dressed outrageously. So what's the problem, then, that I am dismissed so rapidly and am asked nothing about my skll set? I say it's age.

    September 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  14. Art

    I keep telling people, but they just aren't getting it! High speed rail in America, will restore Detroit auto workers and aviation industry jobs. There is a huge American need to leave one spot and go to another quickly, and high speed trains can do that better than planes. We ALREADY have communities like Miami Dade and Homestead, that have done the studies on what is needed. The real estate ALREADY is apportioned out for rail/ transportation right of way. The only thing needed is for the Pres to gather up power utility giants, like one run by Lew Haye, to help provide the power grid necessary for the project, and, to give the train industry financial backing (with American stock for exchange) to get the manufacturing going. We already have the plants, and the plans. If FRANCE AND JAPAN can do it, why can't we? OH! it's because old crapheads who run Detroit are still in charge!

    September 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  15. Thomas

    I was laid off in March by a major electronics retailer... Thank God I was able to call in a few favors and get on with the competition (where I had also worked in the past.)

    I have a four year degree, I can't pay my student loan payments, and I barely have enough money to eat most days. Had I known then what I know now, I may not have pursued higher education. This crisis effects the older generation, but I believe that the 21-25 year olds are really the hardest hit. Once you graduate you are so swallowed up by debt, and for years the only silver lining to this was that you could get a "good paying job."

    Now that isn't completely true, so pursuing a college education is somewhat of a gamble. I currently hold the same job I held when I first started school. If I were 18-19 I would probably hold-off on attending University until I was sure it was going to be worth it.

    What an age we live in.

    East TN

    September 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  16. Donna

    To Peter: The money that NASA spends is all for jobs of engineers, technicians, secretaries, etc here on earth. It is not spent by Martians. Very little of it is spent on the exploration of Mars – most is being spent on human exploration of the near-earth space and the Moon. Mars exploration is by robots and will remain so for many years. I think that the vast DoD budget is a much better target.

    September 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  17. SuzEQ!

    What health care jobs are they referring to?

    Our area has had over half a dozen hospital closures in the last 2 years - and one area hospital is walking wounded: the staff has a mandatory pay cut. Others have layoffs.

    Health care isn't the way to go.

    September 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  18. Sagalovich

    Hey, Max Weber – point taken, but it's not "Lock Ness." It's "Loch Ness."

    September 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  19. AB in L.A.

    CNN do us a favor use your media status and influence to send a copy of this blog to the White House, these are not statistics they (we) are real people (Americans!), Hell send it to Helen Thomas, she seems to be able to get the attention of our politicians! Somebody had better do something, the middle class is hanging on by a thin thread and getting desperate, HAPPY LABOR DAY!

    September 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  20. I hate economic neocons

    and that includes you, white lotus and max weber. White lotus, you have never paid any dues. You have never been in Richard Gamber or Barbara's position, you don't know them, you have no idea what their life is like, and you have no imagination, compassion, or empathy. What was supposed to make the US different was that there was a middle class here. People did not cross oceans and leave their families in order to continue to be miserable slaves and serfs. This was supposed to be an advanced country with a decent standard of living, There was supposed to be a floor, a basic standard of decency that we wanted for eachother, but I see from comments like those of white lotus that the whole concept of caring about each other just as fellow citizens has disappeared. This is one of the most frightening aspects of this whole catastrophe. Obviously, the traitorous CEOs who shipped the jobs away didn't care about their country or their fellow citizens, but it seems the citizens themselves don't care about eachother. I don't see how a country can exist long with that mentality.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  21. Joseph

    I do love all the complaints from older workers about job discrimination. What about us young folks, huh? We're discriminated against for having no experience, yet how else can we get it? Huh? Yes, I can move in with mom and dad and burden them while I struggle to get a job. Fantastic idea!

    The big problem is the greed of America, not this administration or past ones. American middle class people wanted it cheaper, cheaper, cheaper! And so the manufacturing jobs went overseas when American made goods with fair wages made goods too expensive for middle class people who wanted, frankly, to be able to buy MORE MORE MORE! Their desire to get it cheaper and faster left the working class in the position of seeing their jobs outsourced to countries that don't have to pay workers a decent wage. And then the middle class has the chutzpah to criticize labor for wanting decent wages. The middle class doesn't get my sympathy at all.

    So stop whining. It's sad when a young person has to tell the rest of America that the whining about all the horrible things happening due to good ol' American consumerism and "I got mine, so I don't care what happens to my neighbor" coming home to roost. If you don't care about your neighbor, can you really complain when they don't care about you?

    September 7, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  22. jonathan

    This is what happens when our leaders worry about the WTO's protectionism b.s. When you allow all your materials to be made overseas then people will be out of jobs here. Make laws against American companies moving overseas and you might fix the problem.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  23. Gary- Culver City Calif.

    You can blame the greedy unions for a great deal of the unemplyment.
    If they dont get their way, they stomp their feet and walk out. Just look at the obscene benefits and salarys the auto workers got at the expense of the auto companys. Thats not even counting what a union did to the loyal members of the air traffic controllers, grocery workers and screne writers. While the lowest members of the work force belong and pay their hard earned dues to the SEIU, their officals are stealing them blind. The proposed "card check" program is a licence to steal for unions. Walmart has the right idea.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  24. gary

    Please send your stories to all of the Congress/President.....and ask them to bailout "WE THE PEOPLE" not Wall Street....I wish all of you the best of luck....i understand your pain...I am in the same boat and its sinking real fast

    September 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  25. gary

    peopel lets write Congress/president to extend unemployment benefits, bailouts for the unemployed......if the Gov. can bailout banks and the auto industry, the Gov should help "We The People".....I am out of unemployment benefits, I just applied for for foodstamps for the very first time in my life, after turning in the Application I was told i had to wait 30 days for I see a caseworker about the foodstamps...I know healthcare is a hot topic right now, but we need jobds before heathcare.......If i have the best healthcare plan in the US and no job or food to eat or a place to live....what good will heathcare plan do am i able to pay for it????? have to get the money into the hands of the consume(We The People) this will spur growth in the economy and jobs...many have exhausted their unemployment benefits or will do so by the end of this month and by years end.....try taking healthcare plane to the store to buy food or pay rent/mortgage??????.Please contact your elected officials to extend unemployment benefits to all states not just the states that have a 3 month average of 9 percent unemployment rate.....good luck and god bless

    September 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  26. Joe C

    I am not unemployeed. But I work for a large Company that has been laying off American workers faster that one can count. The Company's "off-shore" worker base has grown just as fast as the layoffs in this country. The Company's senior executives enjoy life styles of large bonuses based on the savings that the off-shore workers offer, compared to American workers.

    The issue is multi-layed.
    (1) The company is saving money by laying off American workers.
    (2) The company does not pay benefits to off-shore employees. This hurts health care of all levels)
    (3) The service industry is where this company is based (IT/Business Solutions). Is the company offering the same service as before? The down-graded client oriented service, based on populations of employees that cannot be understood is appalling. The off-shore teams DO NOT have the background knowledge, skills, nor commnication ability as does the American work force.
    (4) The remaining Amercian work force for this company is over worked and under paid. Not only is it the responsibilty of current American employee of their normal job functions, but also to 'parent' the off-shore employee with problem solving and communication issues.
    (5) The American employees benefits have decreased. 4.85% manadatory salary cut. 401K program that is obsurd.
    (6) For every Amercian worker job cut:
    a. NO contribution to Social Secutiry
    b. NO contribution to Unemployment Taxes
    c. NO taxes collected by state or government.
    (7) For every Off-Shore employee job:

    Ok... I have a job. Am I fortunate? Can I pay my mortgage and put food on my family's table? Yes.
    But the company knows and understands that they can take advantage of me and every other Amercian employee because the state of the economy. We (the employeed) are to feel fortunate and not complain.

    I voted for Mr. Obama. I based my decision on his appeal of "bringing back Amercian job" and "penalizing Companies" for off-shoring their work forces. WHEN IS THAT GOING TO HAPPEN?

    They (the government) has quickly spent trillions of dollars saving an economy that was ill to begin what end? Teh government has essentially not just penalized current tas paying citizens, but fr generations that are currently in diapers. Fixing something that is already broken is not good economics. Getting to the heart of the issues should be the goal. Or is "our" government still in the pockets of the high executives of the Companies?

    Where will this end? We have not seen the worst. We may be only starting to see the long term consequenses of these bad decisions.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  27. Beverly Jenkins

    I'm getting very discouraged! We hear that things are getting better but it doesn't feel like it from where I sit........It's getting more difficult to maintain the basics (food, shelter, etc.)........SOMETHING MUST BE DONE TO HELP THE MIDDLE CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  28. BRIAN R



    September 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  29. Sundance

    Come on Mr. these comments and listen to the American people. Our lives depend on you doing what is REALLY in the best interest of this country.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  30. savant

    The economy is still getting worse because Obama does not yet control ALL of the economy . Give him your support and everything will be fine. ...

    September 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  31. Peter Vanderhaden

    Why not stop spending tens of billions of dollars on NASA trying to explore Mars? We need help down here on earth. What goes on in outer space is of absolutely no consequence if the entire country goes down the tubes because nobody can find good paying jobs and health insurance.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  32. Monika Smith

    I am a single mother of 2 children. I have always worked, never collected unemployment, never had a gap in employment. I moved here to Raleigh, NC to raise my children. I found employment as soon as I came here, and was laid off in May 2009. I have been on job interview, after job interview, applied to hundreds of jobs. I have no pride, so I apply for whatever is available. I've got 2 mouths to feed, so I think of them before I think of myself. Because of no employment, I have to give up my home, my transportation was repossessed, I have no family here, so I've been contacting shelters. Now here is my issue:
    I am not disabled, I go to school in the daytime, I have amazing work ethics, I have 2 hands, 2 feet, very articulate speaking, very optimistic, not expecting anyone to take care of me, nor my children, and in the state of NC, people want to "hire immediately", but then it takes 1 month before they make the decision. I'm just baffled. All I simply want is a steady job, dependable transportation, and to keep my kids happy with stable shelter. Is that too much to ask for? So now I'm backed in a corner.....Now I can see why people commit suicide.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  33. Todd stevens

    One place people keep forgetting to look for jobs is the federal government, itself. It isn't a cure all, but it is another place where people can consider. The pay is good, the benefits are superior, and you can't beat the stability.

    The first place to check is at

    Good luck.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  34. White Lotus

    I've read the first 6 comments and I think it's utterly disgusting what I've read by Richard Gamber, Hooverguide and the like. You people act like you are owed jobs. Nobody owes you anything. Do you think this is a communist/socialist society? It's incumbent upon you to make yourself marketable by improving your skill set, lowering your wage demands if necessary, and do what is required to get yourself employed. Also, it helps if you can adjust your lifestyle to what your income levels are. Why are you complaining about not being able to afford house payments? Why do you own a house to begin with? You can rent. Is that beneath you? Maybe you need an attitude adjustment? I'm a 38 yr old who rents a 1BR apartment because I can't afford a house and I refuse to buy one until I know I can financially handle it. I won't be like the thousands of fools who put themselves in situations where they could barely make monthly payments.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  35. Tina

    Many people who have full time jobs have taken pay cuts because their work can no longer afford to pay them a living wage.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  36. Max Weber

    No offense to Richard, but if his resume is littered with the same kinds of misspellings and typos as his comment, I can see why he's not been offered a position.

    The economy being what it is, older Americans will have to be more flexible in what types of positions and salaries they are willing to accept. The idea of employment-for-life has proven to be as much a myth as the Lock Ness Monster.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  37. Tom

    Ms Solis fails to state how many jobs have been sent overseas by these money hungry companies or how many people from other countries are imported here to take jobs. The companies cry for people but what they wanted is cheaper labor. They don't want to help train their own workersI I wish these companies eventually move overseas. Maybe we can get some Americans back to work.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  38. Laid-off Lawyer

    I commented on this precise point in a blog entry ( But I don't see much celebrating of Labor Day here. Labor Day isn't a day to celebrate being employed. Labor Day represents massive efforts of American (and immigrant!) workers over 100 years ago to restore some human decency and dignity to the rapidly spiraling-out-of-control American industry. We could use a refresher on that this Labor Day. Back then human beings were viewed as a means to an end-the manufacturer's bank account. Seems like we're overdue for a Labor revival to refresh corporate America's memory.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  39. William N

    Looks to me like the only jobs Obama is interested in creating or saving are union affiliated jobs. The rest of us are just out of luck.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  40. Carter MacDowell

    Here's how mine went:

    September 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  41. jay m

    Fair trade not Free trade.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  42. Tracy in OH

    The jobs are simply not there to be had. People are 'timing out' of unemployment benefits each day...and when that small amount of support is gone, the family that barely had its head above water loses its home, files for bankruptcy, etc.

    Obama needs to focus on how he can make this country the most business-friendly in the world. He needs to meet with big business leaders and say, "What can we do to get you to come get you to hire get you to grow here?" THAT'S what he should be focusing on. Health care is not as important as being able to pay for food and shelter in the first place. We need decent jobs that actually pay something, and we need them yesterday.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  43. carl

    All this money that was given to wallstreet and these companies with CEO's MAKING MILLIONS IN BONUSES, shouldve been given to the working people wiht tax breaks, money for school or retraining. All they have done is make the rich richer.
    I am losing my job in 2 months as a result in"restructuring" BS the CEOS will still get thier bonuses. WE the folks that make the money for the elite with our hard work lose.Something needs to be he crap out of companies who outsource jobs to other countries.Bring the jobs back to the US!!!!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  44. Terence Gaffney

    Dept.of Labour Secretary's statement – not to become discouraged! How ridiculous can one get! She does NOTHING constructive! How about sending ALL the ILLEGALS back to where they came from – that will OPEN at LEAST 15 million jobs! Nobody does anything about this – apart from the billions spent on their welfare and health bills! Wake-up you so-called politicians and LOOK-AFTER the US citizens like you were voted-in to do!!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  45. Marc M

    Nice poll, a good way to invent a positive spin on the out of control unemployment rate caused by this adminsitrations out of control spending.

    September 7, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  46. Pam

    OBama...what you are doing is NOT working. Bring in some economist who can give advise and help with this horrible work situation. My son is a college grad currently working on a 2nd degree is business. He is trying to find a job, but to no avail. Do you not realize you are killing the middle class people with all of the things you have done? Do you realize in the Eastern part of Ky, a ton of stip mining jobs have been lost, because of the new eco friendly green. You can brag on one hand about the countries new eco friendly endeavors, but to what cost for more hungry people in an already depressed state, going on welfare, food stamps etc... Thanks alot!!! I already know what your legacy will be!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  47. Ron

    Geithner does not know......need to bring our people home from wars and stop being protective of other countries....they can take care of themselves......quit giving our lives and money away for God's sake!!!...yes teen unemployment is high but not many know how to work and think they don't have too.....poor parent leadership and example setting.....

    September 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  48. ZR

    Why do institutions like Baylor College of Medicine do not think of LAYING OFF 1 employee (not american or doctor, just a department director) making over 200k per year yet they lay off 4 working single american mothers making 50k a year. What is wrong here? Some companies are making larger holes in the american culture. They are blind, manipulated by kniving people with intensions only promote themselves not to help our country.
    The truth is that some companies are becoming more and more corrupt, using this situation to exploit, and sexually harass employees and if they do not comply....LAID OFF If, you want to sue you can't because they make you sign a document giving up that right or no unemployment benefits. SICK...I pray I find a job soon and forget the terrible experience I had.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  49. Bob Ramos

    I have been unemployed for a considerable time at least three times in my life so I know the frustration.

    We have to accept that millions of jobs are never going to come back. So what to do? One thing to do is to take a self assessment and determine what you love to do. Then start a home based business doing exactly that. If you are a jack-of-all-trades and are good with your hands, start a "handy man" business. I would love to know such a person so I could hire him/her to fix what I tried to fix myself but blotched. If you can cook, start cooking meals for diabetics. I am Type II and usually eat what is in the fridge. Then I catch hell from my doctor.

    There are millions like us that can use services like the above. Help yourself and help us.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  50. Rick from Mass

    I am a 57 year old man. I have been working full time for 40 years. I also received my degree, by going to night school.

    My wife was laid off 2 weeks ago. I just received a letter from my employer saying that he is cutting everyone's pay by 25%. He is also cuting our holidays from 10 to 8.

    This is the worst economy that I have ever seen. In the past, during bad times, companies just laid off workers. Now companies are going out of business, or exporting jobs overseas. The little guy is taking a beating. The senior management in these companies are getting big raises and bonus's, as the companies products are now cheaper to produce. This has to stop.

    A democracy cannot exist without a middle class. Our government has to get tough with China and India, as well as the companies that are exporting these jobs.

    Next time you go to a store, look for American made products. If you cannot find want you want and its an American company whose product was manufactured overseas, write them a letter, stating that you will not buy any of their products. Write your leaders in Washington, and tell them that they need to to get tough. The first thing they need to do is to force China to devalue their currency. The next thing is that we need to start imposing tarriffs. And the last thing, for our leaders to do, is to tell companies that are exporting jobs, is to make them pay 5 years wages and benefits to their displaced workers.

    Lets save America, while there is still time.

    Rick A.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  51. Barbara Sarubbi

    My dilemma is as follows:

    I live in SW Florida and have been unemployed since November 2008 and struggling with minimal income.

    I have been to the One Stop Career and Service Center in Naples, FL only to find out the services they offer is not referring an unemployed to a company for employment but drowning them in how to write a resume, perform at an interview, check the website etc. I have been doing everything they recommend since November 2008 and to no avail. I have not been offered a position equal to my experience, education etc. I have worked all my life and unfortunately have been laid off from Union Carbide Corporation in the early 90’s when they were downsizing. West Point Military Academy, West Point, NY when I was there as a Temp and was asked to complete the paper work for full time employment and simultaneously a Government freeze was activated and all Temps were to leave. Florida company I worked with for 10 years sold to another company; hence, I was laid off again. After 6 months of no job offers, I took the first job that was offered to me and again I was laid off. It is now 10 months I have been unemployed and I have not been offered one position.

    I have applied for the Obama education programs should I go forward and finish my BS degree it would cost me $20,000. out of pocket if I qualify for the Obama funds, FAFSA funds & FRAG funds.

    I was told I did not qualify for the 4 -6 month programs however when I asked they were not able to answer nor did they get back to me.

    I am willing to work part time to full time, two part time jobs, no benefits, entry level with training etc.
    I am not a difficult person. All I want is employment to utilize my strong skill set and/or entry level with training.
    I have applied to County, City, State, Federal, public, non-profit etc. to no avail. Volunteering, go to network meetings that do not charge a fee, contacted prior co-workers etc.

    Perhaps it is my age!
    To this day I do not understand why companies discriminate age. The older the employee are the more dependable they are, less sick time for children, medical leave, willing to do more work, and some don’t need the benefits etc. Younger people can move in with their parents, move to another State, Country etc. What do the capable workers who society considers over qualified (meaning to old) do?

    What is being done for SW Florida, specifically Naples, Bonita Springs, and Ft. Myers FL for employment in my field?
    These areas are all small business…….why doesn’t the government (my tax dollars that I still pay even though I am unemployed) stimulate all small business with the condition of hiring a certain number of employees according to the size of the company. New employees= new income=new spending=greater growth……and stipulation they hire the older workers first.

    I am hanging on but not for much longer. I have cut back on all my expenses; no newspapers, no magazine subscriptions, no donations, no church (because I am embarrassed that I cannot deposit monies in the basket), no dancing, no movies, my social activity other than networking is taking walks. I do not visit my daughter, family, go out to eat, buy clothes, and I do not see when I will be able to buy another car, appliances take a vacation, this is not helping the economy. I am only one person multiply the sacrifices others are making that are unemployed.

    I hear the media say 90% of the populations are working only 10% are unemployed. Well it is more than 10% because the ones not collecting unemployment are still unemployed but not in the bucket of the unemployed benefits.

    Please advise, help etc.

    Thanking you for your kind assistance.
    Naples FL

    September 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  52. hooverguide

    Not only are we, the people, past discouraged, many of us are homeless and hungry.
    Those of us who do have the resources to sustain life are looking for other options to help us thrive. We cannot afford to keep our homes, we can't afford the fees for rent, we can't afford to maintain a healthy lifestyle and we can't afford health insurance. Perhaps other nations would like to take advantage of our work ethic and years of experience and put us to work. I can only speak for this couple, but we are are seriously considering living outside the U.S.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  53. Richard Gamber

    Discrimination runs rampet in this country for those who are 60 and over and want, need to work. Yes I know you can't prove it , but it does exist. I am 60 years old and was laid off on March 2008 and still to this day I can not get a job. Cobra runs out end of this month, thus my wife and I loose our health benefits and my unemployment will run out by March of 2010 or eariler. I have been able to find one contract job for 4 months in that time, but that is all. When you get an interview, if you can get one at all, it always ends up that you are now the fit we are looking for. NO I am 60 years old and have 25 years of Retail Management experience and they can pay someone 20 years old less money and feel that they will be easier to train in there ways instead of someone my age and experience, I am to young to get retirement benefits, but to old to get a job. How am I to live without an income to get me thru this time between retirement and NOW.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm |