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Special Edition: Gimme My Job Back

Aired December 27, 2009 - 04:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST (voice over): The great recession has crushed the American worker. Ten percent unemployment, the highest level in 30 years. Construction, manufacturing, retail jobs all disappearing at an alarming rate. This hour, we ask the tough questions in the search for real solutions to a job crisis threatening the future of American families.

If you have a job, if you lost your job, if you want the inside word on emerging industries, this is your hour. Real hope, real answers, real solutions. It's time for "Gimme My Job Back."


ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Hello everyone. I'm Ali Velshi.

ROMANS: And I am Christine Romans. This is a special edition of YOUR MONEY, "Gimme My Job Back."

VELSHI: It's been a long time since unemployment hit these levels. We haven't seen these high levels for a long time. Here is a hint, Christine. Americans were wearing Swatch watches and lining up for "Return of the Jedi" last time unemployment was this high in the country?

ROMANS: That is right. The unemployment rate was last in double digits in the early 1980s. There are now six applicants for every job opening and more and more jobs are being lost overseas.

VELSHI: So you can't blame anyone right now for standing up and demanding, gimme my job back. This next hour is designed to empower you or someone you know and you probably know someone with critical information about the true state of jobs in America, where are we, where are we going, and more importantly, how do you find a job if you're out of work?

ROMANS: At the end of 2007 when the recession began, the unemployment rate was below 5 percent. For those 7 million jobs we've lost since, how long will it take to get those jobs back?

VELSHI: Well, with us for the hour, Chrystia Freeland, she is the managing editor of the "Financial Times" here in the U.S. and Rutgers Professor Bill Rogers, former chief economist with the Department of Labor. Welcome to both of you. Thank you for being here. Bill, you have been poring through the numbers. It's bad. We all know it's bad, double digit unemployment. I think most people need to know where is the trend, where is it going.

BILL ROGERS, PROF. & CHIEF ECONOMIST, RUGERS UNIVERSITY: Sure. Most private sector forecasts are looking at over the next few years; we're still going to be at around 9 to 10 percent. There is the Congressional Budget Office led by Doug Elmendorf they do and they are willing to take that risk and they recognize there's a bigger era as you go further out, but they are looking at around us getting back to about 5 percent and around 2013, 2014.

And that is consistent with what other people have shown that it is going to take us a while to get back to full employment to recover those 7 million jobs. Plus the 3 million Americans who are now becoming of age and moving into the labor force.

ROMANS: We need to see the economy growing a lot more strongly than it is right now though to start actually creating jobs, don't we? We need to be adding 150,000 jobs every month just to keep up --

VELSHI: And we haven't seen that since sometime in 2007.

ROMANS: Chrystia, just to keep up with people entering into the workforce. What is it going to be that is going to unlock it and allow the jobs to start being created?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, MANAGING EDITOR, "FINANCIAL TIMES:" Well you're absolutely right Christine, that the problem is not only does the economy need to keep up with as Bill was saying the new entrants into the labor force, there are all these people who have lost jobs who ideally need to be absorbed back into the labor force.

I think this worrying scenario is very few people think that the economy is going to go back to 2007. A lot of people now, even CEOs of companies that are doing really well, are talking about a fundamental reset of the U.S. economy. That America was living high off the hog, American households and the whole country was living off of borrowed money, and that this reset is going to mean people save more, people consume less. The economy grows more slowly, and I think that's going to be a really wrenching social adjustment.

VELSHI: All right. So you have identified one big issue in the jobs market and the problem we've got. The other one, Bill, is that so many of these jobs that have been lost have been lost in manufacturing, and regardless of where you stand on whether we should have better manufacturing policy or we should manufacture more, the reality is manufacturing jobs, particularly lower paying ones, have left this country. Some higher paying ones have left this country and it's not obvious that they're coming back at all.

ROGERS: I just want to correct you a little bit. I mean yes, we had major losses in manufacturing, major losses in construction and that's why we have seen unemployment's rates rise much more than women's. However, though we are fundamentally really a service-based economy, and particularly after November, October of 2008, this recession began to look like the garden-variety recession where consumption fell off, which is two-thirds of GDP. Investment also really slid, and now we have had the government coming in to try to sort of be that employer of last resort --

ROMANS: Here is the thing, this wrenching social adjustment that we are talking about, we are all there, you know the balance sheets have to get back in line and when is the innovation going to come, the next big thing that is going to drive jobs growth, in the meantime. You know 15.9 plus million Americans who are saying, OK, now what do I do? We keep telling you there are six job applicants for every one job opening.

Is the key here to tell people how you can be that one person who is going to get the job that five others aren't? What can people do at home in the midst of this big upheaval that could take a few years if not longer to work out?

FREELAND: Well, I think we need to think about it on two levels, right? How can I take care of myself and what does the country need to do to adjust collectively. In terms of taking care of yourself, I would say the things you need to think about are, are you in a sector where you think there is going to be sustainable, long-term job growth and are you in a part of the country where there's going to be job growth?

One of the real strengths of the U.S. economy and one of the reasons why we shouldn't give in to total despair is Americans are really good at moving around the country to where jobs are. Probably better than any other big country in the world, and that's why you see states that have higher unemployment tend to have people move to states that have lower unemployment.

That happens really fast, within two or three years. So those are the two things I would bear in mind. If you're thinking about your medium-term employment prospects I would echo what Bill has to say which is service sector jobs are very hard to outsource. If it's something you do hands on here in the country, then you're not going to lose that, and health care to me would seem like a real winner, and that's one sector where we haven't seen job losses.

VELSHI: Bill and Chrystia you will be with us for the hour for this jobs special, "Gimme My Job Back."

ROMANS: OK. The single most important piece of information to get a job to keep your job, to get a better job, the one thing you have to do. That's next.


VELSHI: Whether you're trying to get a job or just keep the job you have, our next guest has one single piece of advice for all of you. Don't stop networking.

ROMANS: Brad Karsh is the president and founder of Job Bound and author of "How to Say it on Your Resume." Brad welcome back to the program. BRAD KARSH, PRES. & FOUNDER, JOBBOUND: Thank you it is great to be back.

ROMANS: OK. Networking, this is the single most important thing if you got the job, if you are looking for a job, if you want a better job; you need to be out there working it, so to speak.

KARSH: Absolutely. For people who do have jobs, one of the big misconceptions are they think hey my boss loves me, I'm fine, I'll never get let go. But the fact of the matter is in a lot of organizations, especially larger ones; it's not your boss deciding whether or not you're going to keep that job. It might not even be your bosses' boss; it is some senior VP, some division head, who may not even know you.

And if they don't know you, the likelihood of you loosing your job is much greater. I mean I sat around in the rooms when we went through layoffs and there's a list that goes around and people say does anyone know Eric? If nobody knows Eric, you're on the list and you might lose your job even if your boss thinks you are doing a great job.

VELSHI: So you're saying make yourself visible maybe even beyond the obvious. Be visible, be a workhorse, and take on a valuable project.

KARSH: Right, exactly. So in terms of being visible in networking, try to associate yourself with something that somebody at the senior levels is working on.

So maybe you can work on a project that reports directly let's say to that division head or maybe even work to help plan the holiday party or the corporate outing that you know is being headed up by that senior vice president or even show up at work at 7:00 if you know the top level executives are coming in at 7:00 every day and casually meet them in the lobby of the company, but it's key to get out there and get noticed by people within the organization.

ROMANS: It is interesting because everyone I know who is doing flex time, you know, two days a week at home in the home office, three days a week in the office, every one of them says they're now going to at least four days if not five days a week just to be visible. What if you've lost your job? Networking still incredibly important.

VELSHI: Although harder to motivate yourself to do but crucial.

ROMANS: But I think if you loose a job you have to pretend as though your full-time job is getting a job. You have to keep that discipline, get up at 8:00 in the morning, put on the suit and get out there.

KARSH: Right. It is a lot of work to network and that's why people avoid it, but it's the single best way still and especially to get a job. With stats, as you said before Christine six applicants for every job, with stats you want to make sure you're pulled out of that stack and not being judged against hundreds of candidates, but instead you're in a separate stat of people who have networked their way into a company which allows the recruiting director some little edge that's going to allow you to get the interview perhaps.

VELSHI: Hey, Brad, quick answer. Social networking, should you use that or whatever they call it, professional networking in some cases?

KARSH: Absolutely. Linked and even facebook and others, a great way to get contacts to allow you to facilitate the networking process.

VELSHI: All right. Good to see you.

KARSH: Thank you.

VELSHI: Brad Karsh is the president and founder of JobBound and J.B. Training Solutions.

ROMANS: We're going to be seeing a lot of Brad Karsh in 2010 as we continue to try to get you your job back. Right.

As if the jobs market weren't bad enough, women still aren't getting paid as much as men. The gender gap it seems is still alive and well in this country, but first CNN's Casey Wyan (ph), one man's path to overhauling his job in the turnaround.


CASEY WYAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When we first met Tony Briones nearly two weeks ago, he was living in his van spending mornings unsuccessfully looking for odd jobs at this Los Angeles Day Labor Center.

TONY BRIONES, JOB SEEKER: I drive here every morning, I hope and pray I can get some kind of work, something going on so I can make some extra money.

WYAN: The 54-year-old father of two, grandfather of five spent 30 years as a warehouse worker and in construction.

BRIONES: I was on a ten-foot ladder, bringing hoses for the gas line, and the ladder went one way, I went the other way and messed up my shoulder.

WYAN: Briones says he's filled out hundreds of job applications without success. He's married with a severely disabled adult child at his former home, yet he no longer feels right living there.

BRIONES: It's hard for your kids and your grand kids to ask you for money and you don't got it. If your wife got it, I mean, she's trying to do what she can but -- excuse me. It's not right, you know. I was born a man, born to help support my family. I can't. You know, that sucks. Excuse me. Sorry about that.

WYAN: Today, Briones has new hope thanks to Melissa Wolf, a CNN viewer who volunteers at Chrysalis a nonprofit organization helping the homeless and people recently released from prison find jobs. MELISSA WOLF, ATTORNEY & VOLUNTEER: He's a perfect example by somebody who can be assisted by Chrysalis, he's homeless, and he has motivation. He really just wants to be given a chance at employment and when I saw that piece, I really wanted to introduce him to this program.

WYAN: Wolf helped Briones update his resume. Monday he arrived for his first day of job training classes.

BRIONES: I feel like a baby just took his first step or a little kid just fell off the bike and you put him back up. That's how I feel. I just fell off the bike and they picked me up.

WYAN: Briones says the recession has boosted the number of people using its job placement services by 40 percent since last year.

MARK LORANGER, CEO, CHRYSALIS: The types of clients have changed as well. We're seeing more clients that have -- what we call underemployed, where they may be holding multiple jobs to make ends meet. Or maybe that they are not getting a full 40 hours a week so they are looking for something better.

Reporter: For Briones any job would be better than what he's endured. Last year Chrysalis says more than 1,500 people or 80 percent of its clients found work at an average wage of nearly $10 an hour. One man who had nearly lost hope now believes he will be working again soon.

BRIONES: Bless you guys for what you're doing to make my life more shiny again. Take the downside, downside is over.

WYAN: Casey Wyan, CNN, Los Angeles.



VELSHI: It's a twist on gender and equality. Men are losing more jobs than women during this recession, but that doesn't mean the wage gap between men and women is narrowing. In fact, the jobs men are losing are higher paid construction and manufacturing jobs. The jobs women are keeping have tended to be lower paid, even though they're in growing areas like education and health care.

ROMANS: Tory Johnson is a career analyst and founder and CEO of Women for Hire which produces career fairs for women. So she knows this whole subject first had. We've heard it called the man session, or the he session, that women have found themselves in this position that they are in jobs in industries that haven't seen the mass layoffs or at least to the same degree as men. How has that changed sort of the game for women here?

TORY JOHNSON, CEO, WOMEN FOR HIRE: Well, I try to look at the positive, but you can't help but also see the downside, too. So on the bright side, more women in the workplace right now are at least having equal representation among the total workforce means that we can use our voice. We can speak up about the things that matter most, and that often means policies, protocols, and cultures that are comfortable and supportive of women and families. So that can be a good thing.

On the flip side, however, when you look at the family, for example, one specific family where perhaps the woman was in her home health care position and she gets to keep that job at maybe $27,000, $28,000 a year but her husband has lost his $60,000 construction job a year, that's not a victory for women, that is not a victory for families. We talk a lot and see a lot about the headlines of women getting to keep their jobs; many times it's at a significant price to those women and their families.

VELSHI: Tory, something was interesting; we were just talking to Brad Karsh about the importance of networking. We know because of the responsibilities that typically fall to working women, they have greater difficulty in networking than men do. They don't do the same things. In your book you write about how women can try to bridge the gender gap.

But in order to do so as a woman in your workplace, you can't just go and ask for it, no one is just going to do it for you. You have outlined some very specific things that you have to do if you think you're being paid less than your male counterparts.

JOHNSON: Sure, and one of those things is absolutely negotiating. A lot of times we think that because this wage gap exists that it's simply an issue of bias. While bias is certainly a piece of it, sometimes it's not just that glass ceiling or that issue of bias, but many times it's also a sticky floor and it's our own stick y floor that prevents us from speaking up, from seeking a higher paid position, from pursuing a promotion, for asking for more money, for asking our colleagues for help.

Many times we shy away from doing that. We're happy to have our desk be the dumping ground for everybody else but when it comes to speaking up for ourselves, we don't do it, and that's definitely one of the reasons why women in many cases are paid less.

ROMANS: I want to talk to Bill and Chrystia and bring them into this conversation with us Tory, because I have heard this again and again. Chrystia I have heard this from so many people that women don't ask at the very front end they don't ask for more money when they're offered a job, and there's some studies that show that they've lost 15 to 20 percent of their career earnings by not negotiating every time they walk into the office at the end of the year for the review or for the raise.

FREELAND: I think that's absolutely true, and I think that it has to do with how we raise girls. We still, I'm sure, teach our girls to be a little bit less outspoken, a little more polite, a little nicer than our boys, and I think anyone who employs both men and women will have had the anecdotal experience that the men who work for you are the guys who come into your office much more aggressive about saying I did a great job, give me a raise. Women are much more reluctant to do that. From a boss's standpoint, that's kind of nice, but it's not very good for the women who are taking home the paychecks.

VELSHI: Bill, you have been -- obviously you're a labor economist. You have seen this through different recessions. Isn't it fascinating to you that the wage gap has not narrowed over all these years?

ROGERS: Well I think the overall gap has not narrowed in this recession, but when you break it out and slice it up by race and ethnicity what we find out is that minority women have actually -- it looks as though they have actually made some gains during this recession relative to their counterpart men, but at one level it's really probably a false gain because what's happened is we've seen it's a man's session that particularly minority men have ...

VELSHI: Have done much worse.

ROGERS: Exactly. And they have been losing their jobs at the lower part of the income scale ...

ROMANS: It's not that women are going up, it's that men are going down and that's ...

VELSHI: So really it's not even that we want the wage gap narrowed. We'd like women to get paid more for what they do but not ...

FREELAND: Well, what's happening right now are men are losing their jobs. That's not a great.

VELSHI: That's not a great ...

ROGERS: But on another level it's about all workers regardless of whether you're male, female, African-American, white, or Latino or Asian, that we're all getting back to where the typical earnings of Americans are rising, staying up with the dramatic productivity growth we have been seeing over the last few years.

FREELAND: Another thing that's interesting for me is how socially constructed wages are in different professions. So one of the things that we've seen here is the areas where women are working, they're not losing their jobs, but those are generally quite low- paying, where as the areas where men have been working say construction have been higher paid, and we think of that as being a economic phenomenon, but it's a social phenomenon, too.

VELSHI: Tory, you have kicked off a great discussion for us. One of the things I think it's important to take a look at in fired to hire and the writings of Tory Johnson is specific ways in which if you are a woman you can help your situation by getting yourself a raise. Tory, thanks for joining us.

JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: All right. Bill and Chrystia are going to stick with us for the rest of the hour as well. There's a new normal in the American workforce. What does it mean for you and for your job or your job prospects? More on that next.


VELSHI: Welcome back to a special edition of YOUR MONEY, "Gimme My Job Back." I'm Ali Velshi.

ROMANS: I want your job.

VELSHI: Let's swap.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. The unemployment rate at a quarter century high right now, this show is about empowering you with the knowledge you need to keep your job if you have one, find a new job if you are out of work and get an idea about what the jobs of the future will be in this country.

VELSHI: And by the way we all know someone who could use this advice, so you can pass on what you learn here to them. When we talk about job losses in this recession, few sectors have been as hard hit as the manufacturing sector. But manufacturing jobs have actually been vanishing in the United States for decades. Between 1995 and 2002 alone the number of those jobs declined by 11 percent.

ROMANS: But some companies are finding ways to save manufacturing jobs and keep them here in this country even in these tough economic times.


VELSHI (voice over): For someone who runs a guitar string manufacturing business, Jim D'Addaro is also a bit of a tinker. Over the past two years, he's cut inventories, streamlined factory floor operations, updated technology, and saved jobs at his Long Island- based company.

JIM D'ADDARO, CEO, D'ADDARO: We made a commitment in the '70s that we were going to make our products D'Addaro Strings in America, and we're still committed to that. We've never sold one string that we didn't make here in New York.

VELSHI: He's one of a growing number of U.S. manufacturers that have adopted the Toyota waste reduction strategy popularly known as LEAN that relies heavily on automation. More than half of U.S. manufactures surveyed have implemented LEAN or plan to do so. Critics say the automation eliminates jobs; D'Addaro says the replaced workers can be cross trained to do other jobs.

D'ADDARO: We do not want to lay people off because LEAN has been effective. That's not going to help people embrace LEAN and it is not going to really help our company or our community. What we're trying to do is we take those people and we train them to do something else.

VELSHI: Like work in the guitar strap division, part of a company D'Addaro acquired several years ago. Those jobs were previously in China, today Long Island.

Economist say other companies can also position themselves to bring jobs home.

PETER MORICI, LABOR ECONOMIST, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: LEAN Manufacturing make it is possible to create products in the United States efficiently, cost-effectively, and so forth. Some manufacturing should be done in China, but too much manufacturing is being done in China that could be done more effectively in the United States.

VELSHI: Jim D'Addaro agrees and hopes other manufacturers will follow his lead.

D'ADDARO: I think people are afraid to make the commitment to LEAN, to automation, to reinvesting in their factories because they have this stigma in their mind, they have this belief that you can't make it effectively and profitably in America and that is not true. I think people give up on manufacturing in America prematurely. It can be done.


VELSHI: Well it's interesting because this company was able to bring jobs back to the United States and make a case for efficient manufacturing here in the United States. So much of the news we constantly hear is about losing those types of jobs to other countries.

ROMANS: That really has the trend even during the boom, in fact, the Romans numeral for us to chew over this week is 2.3 million, and it's trying to quantify just how many jobs were lost or displaced due to the trade imbalance specifically between the U.S. and China, that is from 2001 to 2007, 2001 is when China entered the World Trade Organization.

This is according to a study by the Progressive Think Tank Economic Policy Institute. So the number that they put on how many jobs have gone over seas because of globalization with China essentially 2.3.

VELSHI: Jobs lost and what was the other thing?

ROMANS: Jobs lost in 2001 to 2007 because of our trade deficit, our yawning trade gap with China. Now on the other side of the equation we'll tell you because of foreign direct investment in this country we have actually in sourced millions of jobs as well, but ...

VELSHI: And then there's the aspect, the non job aspect, and that is that we buy a lot of cheap goods made in other countries and that affects our standard of living on the other side.

ROMANS: True. And even Ben Bernanke has said I think it was last year when he was asked about the stimulus, what should we be doing, how should we be personally spending that first stimulus check we got, he said, you know, it would be best to spend it on something actually manufactured in this country, and that was protectionist sacrilege among some people but it does make sense.

If you go out and buy a $600 Sanyo TV you are sustaining jobs in the United States in terms of the retail jobs that sell that but the manufacturing of that product comes from some place else.

VELSHI: A lot of TVs manufactured in the United States?

ROMANS: I don't even know, I don't even have a TV, so I'm really not the person to ask.

VELSHI: The question of course for the purposes of this show "Gimme My Job Back" are these jobs coming back? Are any of these jobs going to come back or will they be replaced by new work? What will the new normal be for the American labor force?

ROMANS: Chrystia Freeland is managing editor of the "Financial Times" and Bill Rogers is former chief economist, the Department of Labor and professor and chief economist at Rutgers. Bill let me ask you first about this new normal. The new normal is going to be a lot of people looking for work for the next couple of years. The new normal is construction; manufacturing jobs may or may not be coming back. What is it going to look like for us?

ROGERS: Well, it's going to look like a situation where people got to spend a great deal of time pounding the pavement, in particular one of the areas that I like is I recommend people doing is making sure that you are doing your networking but new type of networking, get involved with some local nonprofits.

ROMANS: Volunteering. I have actually talked to a couple people who volunteered and got a job offer from the other executive who was standing next to them painting a school wall and then when that person had to hire somebody they remembered the person they met at the school.

ROGERS: United Way, an organization I am a board chair member, it's a corporate led organization. So you are volunteering next to other individuals ...

ROMANS: In your field.

ROGERS: In your field. So that's one aspect. Its networking, networking, networking. But also I think what Chrystia said earlier too, is again where are the jobs going to be. If you look at the structure and if you look at the type of policy that's being generated right now, it's health care, it is education, and it is energy and green types of jobs.

FREELAND: I have a new area to throw into the mix which you might all sigh about, but I was talking to some senior Silicon Valley executives and they said what they most wanted their kids to grow up to be was, hold your breath, statisticians. They think that's where the jobs of the future will be because one of the things that technology has done is allowed us to collect vast amounts of data in almost every business. The people who are able to in a sophisticated and practical way analyze that data are going to have terrific jobs.

ROMANS: They will be counting the numbers and counting the beans. VELSHI: I think the point here is there are areas of growth. Geographically and in terms of industry there are areas of growth and we are going to talk a little bit more about those. Sadly there are a lot of folks out there who have lost their jobs and many more who are going to find themselves unemployed in the next year. We know that that is not ending all together too soon.

But you can protect yourself by knowing your right if you're laid off or if you think you're going to be laid off. Grab a pen and paper and we are going to tell you exactly how to protect yourself next.


VELSHI: 2009 could really be known as the year of the layoff.

ROMANS: If it happens to you or someone you know, there are ways to protect yourself and hopefully look to 2010, the year of getting a job, right?

VELSHI: Well here to help you know your rights is Robin Bond; she is an employment attorney and workplace expert from Philadelphia. Robin great to see you again, thank you for being with us.

Here is an interesting one. If you think a layoff is coming, if you fear a layoff is coming, should you try and get in ahead of the pack and negotiate a deal with your employer or should you sit and wait to see what happens?

ROBIN BOND, EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY: Oh, no, we've been saying that for a long time, Ali. If you know this marriage is not going to be saved and the handwriting is on the wall, definitely take an affirmative offensive move to strike your best deal because if you're lumped in with a mass layoff, you're going to get treated like the masses. If you can strike a one off, as I say, your own individual deal, perhaps you can get something better.

Examples, perhaps you can get longer time on payroll. You can offer to be the transition person. You can offer to try to do consulting afterwards. You can even offer to go in and say, look, if the handwriting is on the wall, I will take one for the team, maybe that will save two or three people from losing their jobs, but I would look to ask you this, would you promote me to vice president before you let me go because that will enhance my ability to get another job.

VELSHI: Very interesting. I haven't thought about that.

ROMANS: That is a really good idea. In what cases can it hurt you or can it even hurt you to approach your boss ahead of time and say look I'm willing to do this.

BOND: Because you could get what you ask for maybe.

ROMANS: If you don't ask, you're not going to get it. I mean you've told us that many times Robin. If you don't ask, you're not going to get it. BOND: That is exactly right. I always say though you don't lose deals because you ask. You lose them because of how you ask. And it's very important when you're presenting a deal that you not talk about what's in it for you, but rather about how this is a great idea for the boss and for the company and how you're going to really help them if they follow your recommendations on how to handle your departure.

ROMANS: That's one of the big tricks in the workplace, right? Always make it your boss's idea, the brilliant boss's idea. Like this show for example was our boss's idea.

VELSHI: Let's talk about the Warren Act, what does that mean?

BOND: That is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. It's the federal law that applies to private employers of 100 or more employees, that means it doesn't apply to government, even nonprofit. In those circumstances if they're going to have a plant closing or a mass layoff or a sale of a business, then there are requirements that they give those affected workers a minimum of 60 days advance written notice that this is going to happen so those workers have an opportunity to retrain and find another job during that time.

ROMANS: Let me ask you if you're an older worker and you have very specific rights if you're an older worker. Tell us about that.

BOND: Yes. That's the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. Very important, if you are age 40 or over and your boss presents you with a severance agreement and a release whereby you have to give up your rights to sue, then you have the right to have a minimum of 21 days to review that agreement and they must tell you this in writing.

They also must tell you, you have a right to consult with an attorney. They also must give you an attachment that shows the list of every position by title that's affected by the layoff and the age of the person in that position so you can determine whether there's an age bias in this layoff process.

And then even if you sign the release agreement giving up your rights to sue, you have seven days afterwards to change your mind and revoke your acceptance. This all must be in writing to employees age 40 and older or the releases are not effective.

VELSHI: OK, it's like a sock to the got when you get this notice, but there are things you should think about. Robin you brought some of them to our attention, there is 401(k) s, and there is Cobras. It's almost like if you know you are getting laid off, or you get laid off, you have to switch into high gear. Thank you for your advice, as always. Robin good to see you. Robin Bond, workplace legal expert.

BOND: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Next, how many times have you heard there are jobs Americans won't do? Are there really jobs Americans won't do and at what point will Americans have to do these jobs?


VELSHI: Mention illegal immigration and jobs and you are sure to have a debate on your hands.

ROMANS: That's very true. As jobless benefits run out, can we really afford to have jobs that some consider to be jobs Americans won't do. You have heard it many times, this is as much a jobs issue as it is a wage issue but some businesses over the past 10, 20 years relying on cheap labor provided by people who don't have documents who aren't supposed to be working and in many cases don't have any rights.

Steven Camarota is a director of research with the Center for Immigration Studies. His firm favors less legal and illegal immigration. Thank you for joining us on the program.


ROMANS: First off, you take issue with this phrase we hear a lot, that there are jobs that Americans won't do and those jobs are being filled by people from other countries. You say there really aren't job categories that Americans won't do. Tell us.

CAMAROTA: That's right. The government collects actually pretty detailed information by occupation, and it turns out most of the janitors and most of the construction laborers, most of the meat packers and really any occupation you care to name outside of agriculture, which is only a small portion of the workforce, are overwhelmingly done by native-born Americans. So there really isn't any jobs that Americans don't do, most jobs are done over whelmingly by Americans.

ROMANS: Let's walk through your data that you have from the Census Bureau, maids and house keepers; you say 55 percent are people who were born in this country. Butchers and meat processors, 63 percent, janitors 75 percent, presumably the other people in those categories are people who are legally in this country or illegally in the country. The census doesn't break out the difference between legal status of people.

Does there get to be a point there where maybe next year we're talking about immigration reform, which the Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano has said that they're going to push for immigration reform next year. That could mean legalizing people in this country. Are you going to be in a situation where you have 15 million people out of work and now you have new legal entrants in the workforce?

CAMAROTA: That's right. I mean obviously we allow in over 1 million new people every year with work authorization, but, yes, the question is does that really make sense about the illegals? We have 7 or 8 million illegals working in the United States and less educated Americans. Those with no education beyond high school, their unemployment is 15 to 20 percent right now.

They're at least 6 or 7 million people who have no education beyond high school who are not working right now, and these are the kinds of jobs they do. It would seem to make more sense to try to enforce the law and encourage illegals to go home at least free up some of these jobs for less educated Americans.

VELSHI: Bill Rodgers, former chief economist at the Department of Labor, and now Rutgers University. Bill what's your thought on what we're hearing.

ROGERS: I think even several months ago you all profiled it, several individuals who got into landscaping --

ROMANS: Dry walling, we did a dry walling piece too.

ROGERS: Which is again a job that's viewed as a job that is an American doing that or a native doing that. When safety nets are weaker today, we know as from the past in terms of being eligible, there have been expansions of unemployment insurance, food stamps, but structurally that ability for those supports to be there are weaker, and people have had to readjust and re-evaluate where they want to go.

ROMANS: You think the issue for low-skilled American workers is less about competition from immigration and more about education and about other issues in the economy is that right?

ROGERS: That's correct. If you sort of had a pie chart and you sort of divide it up into the slivers of what are the most important, illegal immigration and it's probably smaller for a young African- American or young minority. It's an issue about quality of education, early job opportunities. It's an issue about being in a community that's got a full functioning job creation engine as opposed to having to really take several buses to get out to the suburbs for the jobs and ultimately it is also unfortunately, still discrimination ...

CAMAROTA: Could I comment on that?

ROMANS: Jump in, Steven.

CAMAROTA: Well look there was a recent study done by the top economist in the field on this very question. A guy at Harvard named George Brahas (ph), his estimates show that for less educated black men since you mentioned it, immigration accounted for about 40 percent of the decline in their workforce participation. That is the share who are not looking and don't have a job. So immigration is not the whole story, but it may be up to half the story, and it's one of the things we can really do something about right now.

ROMANS: And Steven the other part of that equation was globalization right and the down fall of unions? Am I right?

CAMAROTA: And technological innovation tends to dampen down. So there are other factors. There are big factors impeding less educated people from working. Some of them have to do with a culture of poverty, poor education. These are important things that we should be thinking about and addressing. But they are not something that we can address tomorrow, we can start actually enforcing the law tomorrow and free up more jobs. Most of these jobs have seen a huge decline in wages. Take meat packing, very well studied, real wages are you ready for this are 45 percent lower today than they were in 1980. If it really is true that you are having trouble recruiting Americans how about looking at the wage structure. This is true of other occupational categories as well.

Farming jobs pay somewhere around 15 percent less than they did a few decades ago. Bottom line less educated workers make much less than they used to. So it really makes no sense to adding to the bottom end of the U.S. labor market through tolerating lots of legal immigration and then of course, illegal immigration.

ROMANS: I think there's a lot of interesting data and issues. Some of the data issues and opinions all contradicts each another. But I do think that when you have 15.9 million people out of work and you are looking at 2010 where the administration has said that we are going to tackle immigration reform again.

I think all of these issues are going to be on the table and trying to figure out again how to solve a big problem in the American economy without hurting economic growth, while being human, enforcing the rule of law and recognizing some of the things that are a fact of life in this country.

ROGERS: Because you started this segment off with that this is a very politically charged conversation.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

ROGERS: And so I just don't want - I just want to make sure that we keep our eye on the prize or your eye on the target and not particularly demonize or demagogue a particular group. Immigrants can add and add to our economy, to our society, so, again ...

ROMANS: In the Fiscal Policy Institute a report saying that where you see high levels of immigration, you see high levels of economic growth during the boom, so I mean we go back and forth on all of that.

Steven Camarota ...

CAMAROTA: If immigrants go where jobs are. That's the thing. It's kind of a confusing cause and effect.

ROMANS: Steven Camarota, Center for Immigration, destructive research there. Thanks for joining us. Also, Bill Rogers, former Department of Labor, chief economist, as always a real pleasure to have you on the program.

ROGERS: Appreciate. Great to see you all.

VELSHI: Well saving the planet and saving jobs at the same time, a closer look at green collar jobs, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: Call it the great green hope. The green technology and green collar jobs will rescue the labor market. There are jobs, these are jobs that in some way, shape or form, they benefit the environment or their actions or their products benefit the environment. That is spurred all sorts of training programs, including one we found in New Orleans called "The Louisiana Green Corps."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi there from (Inaudible). You know that you are losing what?


ROMANS (voice over): The skills taught here are green.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is recycled newspaper.

ROMANS: And so are the students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work with 17 to 24-year-olds who lack work history, or are often low income. Our members don't want to hang out on the street. They want to be productive. They want to work.

ROMANS: That is where Louisiana Green Corp comes in, based in New Orleans and funded through a grant through the U.S. Labor Department. The program teaches young adults how to weatherize and rehabilitate homes.

SUZY MASON, PROGRAM DIR., LA GREEN CORPS: We are given a general base of construction knowledge, carpentry skills. We also emphasize academic improvement, work readiness and encourage our corps members to make positive life decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of work to be done in New Orleans.

ROMANS: One of the people doing that work is L.A. Green Corps graduated Chris Williams. After completing the program he landed a job with local contractor Brotherhood Way weatherizing homes and building new ones.

CHRIS WILLIAMS, L.A. GREEN CORPS GRADUATE: I believe that this program helps kids by letting them see there's another way. Maybe they don't have a high school diploma or maybe they aren't the ones who go to college. This program advice the men and it gives them the opportunity to learn a trade, to learn a skill. Their energy bill will be $20 a month to $30 a month.

ROMANS: Despite Chris's success, jobs are still hard to come by. So far out of 177 L.A. Green Corp graduates 37 percent of the graduates found jobs and a third have gone back to school. Even those who didn't immediately find work have achieved something.

For Chris and so many other young adults, when they finish the program, they are ready to be thrown into the work force. So when the job market does turn around, they are ready.


VELSHI: OK, some quick final thoughts from you on whether or not this is the magic bullet. We hear so much about green jobs. When we say what's coming back to replace us, we hear green jobs. What do you think?

FREELAND: I think green jobs could be part of the solution but they are definitely not the magic bullet. If there's a single thing that America can do for itself as a country and individual viewers can do for themselves as people, I would say improve your skills, get better education. As you go up the education ladder, unemployment gets lower and lower.

ROMANS: Unemployment for someone with a bachelor's degree right now is 4.7 percent. That is eccentrically full employment. It's harder to get a job out of college, but once you get that job, the unemployment rate is very low.

ROGERS: That's correct. But again at the beginning of this recession the unemployment rate for college grads was around 2.5 to 3 percent, so it's more than doubled. One good positive piece here is that our stimulus policy looks very different from coming out of 2001 recovery. I understand what you are trying to do in terms of fighting terrorism, but from the standpoint of growing jobs, those dollars spent in Iraq didn't have the effects of the stimulus package that was passed now and are doing. These are focusing on infrastructure, these are domestic investments.

So instead of being a drag on economic growth, the stimulus package and the kind of investments that are also being laid out in the president's budget will be more expansionary to help the economy grow. It is a big picture, screen jobs, one component of the puzzle.

VELSHI: Bill, good to talk to you. Thank you so much. Bill Rogers, is president and chief economist at Rutgers University, fmr chief economist with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Chrystia Freeland is the managing editor of the "Financial Times."

ROMANS: All right. Thank you for joining us for this very special edition of YOUR MONEY. If 2009 was the year of the layoff, 2010 will be the year we helped you getting your job back. You can follow Ali Velshi and me at facebook and twitter at Christine Romans and at Ali Velshi.

VELSHI: Make sure you tune in every week for YOUR MONEY, Saturday's at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, Sundays at 3:00. You can also log in 24/7 to Have a good weekend.