WASHINGTON WATCH: Secretary Of Labor Hilda Solis On The August Jobs Report, Economic Growth

The jobs report on Friday had good news and bad news. 96,000 new jobs were created, but unemployment fell to 8.1 percent, down from 8.3 percent last month. Black unemployment stayed the same at 14.1 percent.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis joined Roland Martin on the set of Washington Watch to break down the August jobs report.

MR. MARTIN:  Welcome back.

The jobs report on Friday had good news and bad news.  96,000 new jobs were created, but unemployment fell to 8.1 percent, down from 8.3 percent last month.  Black unemployment stayed the same at 14.1 percent.

Here to break it down is Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

Welcome back to “Washington Watch.”

SEC’Y. HILDA SOLIS:  Good to see you.  It’s great.

MR. MARTIN:  All right.  So, a lot of the critics are saying, “Terrible jobs report.”  “Oh, my God!  This just shows the economy is” – “is sputtering along.”

But my understanding – again, I remember Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve saying this is going to be a five- to seven-year process.  It’s not going to be flying at gangbusters.

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  Right.  It’s true, and you have to look at the long term.  In fact, what we see happening here is that last year at this time in August, it was 9.1 percent unemployment.  It went down a whole percentage point.  We’ve also added 4.6 million private-sector jobs.  500,000 jobs exist in the manufacturing area that weren’t there back in the 1990s.  So, why are we not talking about good signals?  Manufacturing is coming back.  Automobile industry – 250,000 jobs, plus another million that are part of the auxiliary services that are attached to that.

We need to make more investments in job training, however, because the President said we need to be interd- — we need to be independent.  We need to create our own resources for renewable energy, and we do it through training.  And we have to have good job training, but the Republicans want to not do training.  They want to cut those programs, and they also don’t want to allow for the middle class –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  — to really take hold and have some of the tax credits and cuts that they’re getting, that they would like to get.

MR. MARTIN:  At the convention this week, I believe it was Pres. Bill Clinton who said we have 3 million jobs in America that go unf- — unfilled –

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — because folks don’t have the skills.  What are those jobs?  And how do we get folks to get the skills for them?  So, what jobs are we talking about?

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  Well, we’re talking about technical jobs.  So, you have to – you do have to have some kind of credential –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  — and they’re not all located in one area.  So, they may be jobs in refineries.  They could be up towards Pennsylvania, or North Dakota.  So, not a lot of people are in a position geographically to leave their homes – sell their homes, because the market is so bad, to get those jobs.  So, what we need to do is invest in making sure that everyone gets trained everywhere for any kind of job.  But we’re looking at higher skill sets that need to be made available.  Community colleges can do that.  We have money that the President gave us to increase the capacity for them to do outreach to work with businesses, change the curriculum so that actually businesses are helping to write the curriculum, so that they get into these jobs.

MR. MARTIN:  Also, when you talk about the 96,000 jobs, what were the top areas – just to give us a sense of where – whe- — where the growth –

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  Business and –

MR. MARTIN:  — is?

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  — professions continues to grow.  That means the high-tech area:  engineering, architectural, financial management.  The second area is leisure/hospitality, and then the third is education – believe it or not – in the private sector, as well as healthcare.  Healthcare is an area that continues to grow, and it’s going to continue to grow as you see more of the insurance plans now starting to pick up all the coverage that they’re going to stu- — soon see with the program.

MR. MARTIN:  All right.  Secretary Solis, we appreciate it.  Thanks a lot.

SEC’Y. SOLIS:  Thank you.