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Overhauling Health Care; Gupta Withdraws Name as Surgeon General; Clinton's Invitation to Iran; Growing Calls for New Fertility Laws
Aired March 06, 2009 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, a lot to cover this morning. Let's get right to it. Tell you the big stories we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.
There's major news about your money and the economy coming in just 30 minutes. That's when the Labor Department will release the latest jobs report from February. And right now, the forecast does not look good. It also looks like there is more trouble on Wall Street. CNN's Christine Romans and the CNN money team all here to break down what this means to you.
And another big issue on the minds of Americans -- health care. Right now, 46 million people do not have health insurance and the president wants to change that. He's also set a deadline for doing it. Suzanne Malveaux is following that for us at the White House.
And what will the president's fix to the health care system mean to you? It is not just a political issued, a very real one for Americans dealing with soaring health care costs, whether they're insured or not. So does the president's plan attack these top issues and will it really work? We'll check in with our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
We begin, though, with breaking news on the financial front. Right now, we're waiting for the government's monthly jobs report. It's expected to be released, as it always, on Fridays at 8:30 Eastern time. CNN's Christine Romans and Gerri Willis are standing by to bring you the information about it as soon as we get it.
Also this morning, the Dow is opening, unfortunately, at its lowest level since April of 1997. After staging a 150-point rally on Wednesday, the Dow gave back those gains and then some, ended up closing down 281 points yesterday and another 4 percent in value gone.
CNN's Christine Romans joins us now with more on what is causing the jitters that we've seen throughout the week and whether or not we can see an end in sight.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Citigroup shares fell below a dollar. Citigroup, the big, you know, blue chip bellwether financial stock. Its share fell below a dollar. GM shares pummeled because the company said in a report that its auditors say it might not be logical for this company to continue as a going concern.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It's amazing. ROMANS: It's amazing. I mean, there are some serious problems and questions about the health of the financial sector, whether we're doing enough and the right things to get -- to building back the financial sector, whether we're doing the right things and the right way to boost this economy. And so, what the numbers are telling you is that there's a great deal of pessimism and we just haven't found the combination to return confidence.
We're going to get this jobs report and talking about it all morning. We're going to get this in about 28 minutes. Why is it important? It's going to give us a -- it's going to give us handle on just how bad the labor market is and what can we expect going forward?
You know, Lakshman Achuthan, who's on this program frequently, he's an economist, he said there will be a deluge of job cuts and it will continue this year. It's not good news but people have to know this is happening and be ready for it and be aware that we're going to see hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. 3.6 million jobs have been lost since this recession began. We could top 4 million, the 4 million mark. That's a lot of jobs lost. It's going to continue.
There will -- I'm going to be looking in this report to find out if there is still job creation and health care in the government. Those are two reliable sectors of the economy where we have seen job growth. There's an exciting thing happening in health care in terms of job growth there. So, we'll be looking to see what kind of jobs that we are adding, but manufacturing, construction, retail, trade, leisure, anything related to the consumer, all of these things are expected to have huge job losses.
CHETRY: All right. Well, hopefully, we'll be able to find a bright spot. And I know that you're not expecting it, though. Christine, thanks.
ROMANS: Well, you know, knowledge is power. You know, people have to be -- it's just like going out there and be a meteorologist saying there's a hurricane. You know, it's raining, there's a hurricane. People have to know what the situation is so they can make whatever the appropriate things are for themselves and their family.
CHETRY: All right, Christine, thanks so much. And as we mentioned, we are waiting for the latest government jobs report. Right now, forecasters are predicting a worsening job market but there are some companies that are hiring and if you are looking for a job, please check out our special series "WHERE THE JOBS ARE." You can go to cnn.com/am.
And tonight, make sure you don't miss the "CNN MONEY SUMMIT." Ali Velshi, Anderson Cooper and the CNN Money Team will focus on your job and your money. It's happening tonight, 11:00 Eastern time.
ROBERTS: Another big story affecting your money and your health is health care -- health care reform. It's off and running at the White House. President Obama setting an ambitious goal for overhauling the nation's health care system. The plan is designed to help the estimated 46 million uninsured Americans and others who do have insurance but can barely afford it. At the White House health care summit, the president said he recognizes the challenge and the need for compromise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this effort, every voice has to be heard. Every idea must be considered. Every option must be on the table. There should be no sacred cows. Each of us must accept that none of us will get everything that we want and that no proposal for reform will be perfect. If that's the measure, we will never get anything done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Our Suzanne Malveaux is live at the White House for us this morning.
And, Suzanne, lots of Americans are very interested in this issue. Any reason for them to be more optimistic this morning than they were yesterday morning?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, if you look at the timetable, perhaps there is, but that really is counting on the fact that perhaps this whole health care reform is going to work. But he certainly has set a very ambitious timetable. We're talking about a year from now or so that people could actually be seeing some relief. He says he does not want health care reform to get up in the political season of 2010, so he wants to get it done in the next 12 months or so. He says there is no good time to deal with this, not during war time, peace time.
They also believe, too, that this is related to the economic crisis here. You've got to deal with the housing crisis, the health care crisis, the economic crisis, all in one big swoop. They believe they're very much related.
And this is a conversation, John, that is not just going to take place here in Washington. But if you live in some of the states across the country, they're going to be holding this kind of regional, what they call regional health care summits, involving the governors, who'll be hosting administration officials talking about these at town halls at Michigan next week, followed by Vermont, Iowa, North Carolina, California.
All of this in the days and the weeks ahead, John, for people to make their views known -- what do they need from this administration and do they buy what this administration is selling -- John.
ROBERTS: The administration is being very aggressive in tackling those three pillars -- the housing, the economy and health care. But some people are beginning to think, is this administration biting off more than it can chew? You now, we're trying to get the economy back on track, why are we going to health care right now?
MALVEAUX: You know, a lot of people are asking that question. Aides inside the White House, they have an expression, they say we're putting a lot on the grill and they believe that they can handle this. But there are some supporters of the Obama administration are scratching their heads and thinking this is way too much to put on their plate.
Our own CNN contributor David Gergen, who, of course, as you know, served many administrations, Democratic and Republican, saying, look, get the credit crisis in order first, deal with that, and then try to get some help with Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary, to get some deputy secretaries. They haven't even filled those jobs yet. He needs some help in that area as well.
So a lot of people saying, look, you know, health care, you need to slow this down a bit. The administration hitting back a little bit here, John, saying that this is all related.
ROBERTS: All right. We'll see if they can pull it all off. Suzanne Malveaux for us this morning. Suzanne, thanks so much.
CHETRY: All right. So we turn now to our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
We want to talk, Sanjay, a little bit about the news over the surgeon general post. But first, more about the president's plan. You're, of course, a doctor on the front lines. You see this all the time. What in your opinion is the nation's biggest challenge to overhaul the entire health care system?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think building a little bit on what Suzanne was just saying right now is to somehow make the argument, as they're trying to make, that the health care and the economy are sort of inextricably linked, that you can't fix the economy without fixing health care. You're starting to hear that message being sent. But I think people are going to have to understand it and buy into it. I think that's going to be one of the biggest challenges.
And then it gets down into sort of the specifics. And if you start breaking down the specifics of health care overall, you really have two silos. You have access and you have cost. Now when you talk about access, a lot of people talk about the fact that there are a lot of people who are uninsured in this country. 46 million is the number that we hear a lot.
But there's another way to think about that number as well and that is that 1 in 3 Americans under the age of 65 went without health care for a portion of last year. And that's making a dramatic impact not only on their lives but on the bottom line as well, which brings us to cost.
The belief is that you can start to lower health care costs, you're going to have a better chance at getting a lot of these people insured. And it comes full circle back to the economy.
One quick example, Kiran. I was talking to you last week. You know, I was in India doing stories on medical tourism. There's about 750,000 Americans that leave the United States every year to go to a foreign country to get their operations mainly because it's so much cheaper.
I'm in an operating room there. They have the -- they have technology, the same sort of technology that we have here. They can do a brain tumor operation like you're seeing -- you're watching right now for about a tenth of the cost they can do it here. How is that possible? What can we learn? How do we bring those costs down here? I think that's going to be a big focus of these discussions moving forward.
CHETRY: Are you going to have to throw out the entire health care system as we know it and start from scratch?
GUPTA: Everything that I've heard from this president on the campaign and since he's been president suggests no. He has really been focusing on this idea that health care in this country works well for a certain percentage of the population and for those for whom it doesn't work, they're going to target those people. That's what he said over and over again.
So, it's a question of fixing only what's broken as opposed to throwing the whole system out and starting from scratch. You know, as Suzanne was talking about, as you're hearing, there's a lot of pressure on both sides to that. Pressure to say it doesn't work at all, fix it completely. And other people to say leave it alone and let it work, it will eventually fix itself.
So, how that sort of plays out is going to be interesting. This is a discussion that we've been having since Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, you know, President Clinton and now him. So this is not new in so many ways, at least parts of the discussion.
CHETRY: Yes, you're right. We'll see how it goes. Big challenge for the administration as we said on top of the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, let's talk a little bit about your decision to take yourself out of the running for secretary-general. We're thrilled, personally, because that means you're staying here and our viewers can continue to benefit from your expertise. But I know that this is something that you really also wanted, and you had to weigh a lot of different things. So, ultimately, what went into your decision?
GUPTA: Yes, you know, I mean, it's a very fair way of putting it. I mean, I was very flattered and certainly humbled to even be considered for this. It's an important job, and I think a job that I respect a lot.
You know, life is about tough decisions sometimes, and this was an incredibly hard decision for me. It really came down to timing more than anything else, Kiran. I think maybe you'll appreciate this a little bit as a journalist and as a relatively new mom.
We spend a lot of time away from our families as it is. This job requires that of us. And I came to grips to this idea that I would, you know, miss the first several years of my new daughter's life. My wife is going to have, you know, have birth any day now, and I want to be there for that. I want to be there for those first few years. It's a tough decision. It's a work/life balance discussion. I think people probably have around their dinner tables every single night.
The other thing I learned, sort of ironically to be a surgeon general, I really couldn't be a practicing surgeon any more. I think that was something I didn't realize even when I went into the process. I'm a, you know, relatively new surgeon. I think I love surgery as you know me, Kiran. And people know me as a journalist, but I work at a county hospital. I love that part of my life. I want to continue that part of my life. I didn't feel like that I should abandon that part of my life right now. So those are really, really the primary reasons.
CHETRY: Yes, you're right. You certainly have a lot to balance. I can appreciate what you're talking about. And as you said, that would take you away from your surgeries which, in your field, is not something you can sort of walk away from for several years, and then pop right back into it.
Well, anyway, as I said, again, we're thrilled that you're still with us, Sanjay. And that our viewers will get to still wake up with you every morning.
GUPTA: Well -- and, Kiran, somebody has got to look out for John. His voice is going. He's not getting enough sleep. He does this tie and no tie thing. I'm very worried about him. You know, I got to be here for him.
CHETRY: That's a huge challenge as well. That's why I also turn down a couple of post in both this administration and the last one, just kidding.
All right, Sanjay, thanks so much.
ROBERTS: Yes, the tie and no tie thing certainly indicates some sort of neurological defect. Sanjay is looking into that one.
And can Iran help win in Afghanistan. The secretary of state dropping a bombshell saying that we may have to invite one enemy to the table to tackle another. Could it backfire, though? We'll ask an expert on the region. What it means for your security. It's coming up now on 13 minutes after the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If we move forward with such a meeting, it is expected that Iran would be invited as a neighbor of Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dropping a bombshell there saying we may invite Iran to the table to an upcoming summit on Afghanistan's future. That comes on the heels of some really biting words from the secretary calling Tehran a threat to both Europe and Russia. So what this all this mean for relations between the United States and Iran?
Joining me now is Robin Wright. She's the author of "Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East."
So, Robin, we had there, the secretary, almost playing good cop/bad cop herself. Earlier this week saying there are real threat, and then yesterday saying, hey, we might invite them to the table.
ROBIN WRIGHT, FMR. DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Exactly. I think the administration is trying to reach out to Iran, and Afghanistan is the logical place to begin.
The forum is one with the international community, will also put pressure on Iran to cooperate. Iran does not want to be the odd man out if you have not only all of Afghanistan's neighbors, but the international players participating in this. So this is a place where they also share some significant common interest.
ROBERTS: So could a summit on Afghanistan, including Iran's participation, potentially be a back door to opening up direct talks between the United States and Tehran?
WRIGHT: I think so. One of the things that they've tried in the past is to hold these meetings at the United Nations, where they've had just the immediate neighbors. The so called six plus two meetings.
And they've looked in the past to whether Iran was prepared to, for example, shake hands with the secretary of state or have a conversation on the sidelines. This is a time where, clearly, the potential for that kind of breakout meeting is for the first time quite significant.
ROBERTS: But is there any potential downside here to elevating Iran's stature in the region? Particularly as it relates to Afghanistan?
WRIGHT: I don't think that we could elevate Iran's status. We have effectively, by eliminating Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan created the situation where Iran's two main rivals have been eliminated. And Iran is, today, the superpower when you look at either border, whether it's in South Asia or the Middle East.
ROBERTS: So we were also talking about Syria earlier this week. The secretary of state dispatching two envoys to Damascus to look into the possibility of maybe a peace deal between Israel and Syria. And there had been some people who think that that could be the key that unlocks the entire Middle East. Gives the Iran license to sit down with the United States. Gives the Palestinians license to talk to the Israelis, may even bring Hamas around. Do you see it that way?
WRIGHT: I think it's an important step. I think it's also something the administration will probably have to do, in part, because the Palestinians are so divided among themselves over the issue of recognizing Israeli's right to exist and the use of violence. That it's not likely to be able to go any place very soon.
Where on the Syria track, Syria and Israel have held talks under Turkish auspices for almost a year. And so there is some groundwork to build on, and this would in turn also put pressure on Iran for example. Iran doesn't want to be, again, the odd man out if there is a movement toward reconciliation with some of its allies.
ROBERTS: Your latest book, "Dreams and Shadows," was sort of the culmination of all of the travels that you have made in the region. All the people that you have talk to. What's your sense broadly across the region? Is this now -- is the time now right to try to craft some sort of, you know, beginnings, I guess, of a broader peace deal?
WRIGHT: Well, I think one of the most interesting things that's happening almost a decade after 9/11 is that there is a growing movement against extremism, a kind of anti-jihad movement.
People are frustrated and angered by the fact that extremists may be able to confront and destroy, but they can't provide constructive alternatives to everyday life. And that's what is most pressing today, exacerbated by the global economic crisis.
So I think there's a desire for change in the region, a desire for peace. But I also think that societies, because of the failure of the United States over the last eight years to promote democracy are looking at Islamic alternatives more and more, but there are anti- Jihadists Islamic movement.
ROBERTS: Right. I understand. Robin, I know that you're traveling to Iran. You'll be back in April. I hope that you come back and join us, and tell us about your trip.
WRIGHT: Thanks. I will.
ROBERTS: All right. Good to see you. Thanks so much -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, the outrage over the octomom. Lawyers and lawmakers in several states now looking into this case -- the case of Nadya Suleman. And some are hoping it never happens again. And they actually want legislation to make that possible. We're covering all angles of this story this morning from politics to medicine. Should women be told what they can and cannot do when it comes to fertility?
We're going to head to the -- we'll talk to the head of New York University's fertility clinic. Nineteen and a half minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: Twenty-two minutes past the hour, time to fast forward to some of the stories -- yes, I said it's 22 minutes -- some stories you'll be hearing on CNN today. In just about 10 minutes, the government releases its monthly jobs report. They like to show that the economy lost at least 600,000 jobs last month. Our CNN money team is here standing by to bring you the numbers. And also to help put it in perspective today.
Also, the stimulus in action. President Obama traveling to Columbus, Ohio, in a few hours. He'll be attending a graduation of 25 police cadets. These recruits were originally told that they would be laid off because of budget cuts. Now, because of money coming in from the stimulus package, their jobs are saved.
And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this morning meeting with her Russian counterpart in Geneva, Switzerland. The two are expected to discuss the U.S. missile shield, Iran's nuclear program and also the war in Afghanistan. Later today, Secretary Clinton is heading to Turkey -- John.
ROBERTS: There's been a lot of public outrage over the so-called octomom. When the circumstances surrounding her mega birth became public, and lawmakers in several states want to make sure that it never happens again. One Georgia lawmaker going so far as to call for legislation that would limit the number of embryos implanted during fertility treatments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH HUDGENS (R), GEORGIA STATE SENATE: I'm outraged at what happened in California. That we have an unemployed, unmarried woman with six children already, having eight more children and really putting them on the backs of the taxpayers in the state of California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Is it fair to slap new regulations on the IVF industry? Our next guest says that kind of law would go too far. Joining us now fertility specialist Dr. Jamie Grifo of New York University.
You actually sent a letter to the governor of Georgia saying don't do this, it would be bad medicine.
DR. JAMIE GRIFO, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, NYU FERTILITY CLINIC: Well, I think it's an example of legislators trying to practice medicine, and that makes for neither good medicine nor good legislation. The unintended consequences of this law would actually decrease the quality of care for many patients in that state. Those patients would go to other states for better care, and it's just not the way you regulate us. We already are regulated. There is a licensing board. If a doctor does something they shouldn't do, the licensing board can sanction them. They can take away their license. They shouldn't legislate -- they shouldn't legislate the practice of medicine. They should regulate this.
ROBERTS: Just to sketch out the potential regulator -- the proposed regulations here in Georgia would be no more than two embryos implanted in a woman under the age of 40. No more than three implanted over the age of 40. You say that there are regulations already in place to deal with these sort of things. But those regulations are applied after the fact. As lawmakers are arguing that in this industry, which some people liken them to the wild west, you need to apply those regulations before the facts.
GRIFO: Well, absolutely. But what's not really clear is things happen in nature. Do you know there is a report of sextuplets from a single embryo transfer? This law will not solve the problem. You still have nature in the mix, and that's the problem. And you can't control nature.
So what this law will do, it's well-intentioned, but it will end up hurting the care of many patients just to prevent that one weird case, that one unusual case.
The chance that Nadya Suleman would have octuplets, if you calculate from the statistics of that clinic, was one in a billion.
GRIFO: This was a very unusual circumstance. I'm not defending the doctor. Six embryos should not have been put back. None of us do that. This doctor did it. There will be consequences. You don't need to treat the one in a billion case through legislation. You will harm many patients' care.
CHETRY: Another very interesting article and story that sort of cropped up around IVF is this doctor out of Los Angeles by the name of Jeffrey Steinberg that claims that he can actually help parents who -- he already helps parents take the sex of their child, but through the IVF procedure and through some new genetic testing. He's saying that he can actually let parents who want a blue-eyed child maybe get their wish -- curly-headed child, tall, lean.
Where do you start going when you go down this slippery slope of people likened to the brave new world. Design their kids.
GRIFO: Yes, I mean, it's a troubling concept. And it's not what we do. It's not what patients really want. You know that's the other thing. It's going to be regulated just because patient don't really want that. And what he is offering is the possibility of -- increased probability of, say, a blond-haired, blue-eyed baby but not a guarantee. It's a gimmick. It's not what we do.
We help people have healthy babies. And when you poll patients, that's what they want, healthy babies. A study at our university, the genetics department showed the patients aren't interested in these things. They're interested in having healthy babies. And that's where PGD has a good use, to try and design a baby, to micromanage someone's characteristics. It's foolish and we shouldn't be doing it, and we're not doing it.
ROBERTS: Let me comment -- (INAUDIBLE) to this idea of new regulations. And the State of Missouri, they're thinking of making this association for the society of reproductive medicine guidelines enforceable by law. And those guidelines are no more than three embryos implanted up to age 37 and four after that, right? What about that? Is that a compromise you can live with?
GRIFO: Well, we all practice by the guidelines, of course. We developed those guidelines...
ROBERTS: Except for this fellow here in California?
GRIFO: Well, and there are some circumstances. If you read our guidelines, there are certain patients where the guidelines don't apply because of their history. They've done multiple cycles. They have a poor prognosis, they have other problems. The guidelines don't fit those patients, but we follow our guidelines. And by doing that...
ROBERTS: What do you say to people who say you just don't want anybody telling you what you can do?
GRIFO: Well, it's really not that. We're trying to do what's best for patients and try to help them have good outcomes. And sometimes the guidelines aren't right for a particular patient. That's the practice of medicine. That's where judgment comes in. That's why you want a doctor practicing medicine. You don't want a legislator practicing medicine. They're not trained. They didn't have the 12 years of training that I had.
They're well-meaning, I get it. No one wants this case to happen. It happened. It will happen in nature. There is a natural conception of a dodecaplets, that's 12. Nature does this. That's the problem we face in our field. There's no perfect outcome. You can't legislate perfection.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, certainly, a lot of people are talking about this.
Dr. Grifo, great to see you this morning. Thanks.
GRIFO: Thanks, John. Good to see you.
ROBERTS: All right. Take care.
CHETRY: Well, NASA astronauts launching a new mission. They are searching through the great void of space. We're going to tell you exactly what they are looking for and might just surprise you. It's 28 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Thirty minutes past the hour. Here are this morning's top stories. Lawmakers scrambling to keep parts of the federal government running this morning after the Senate postponed a vote on a $450 billion spending bill.
A setback for the president even though he wasn't in office while it was being crafted. Republicans argue that the bill is too expensive and loaded with so-called pork barrel projects like the now infamous $2 million for pig odor research which if you talk to anybody in Iowa, they say that is absolutely necessary!
And more help for homeowners facing foreclosure. The Houses approved a major change to bankruptcy law that would give judges new power to rewrite home mortgages. The measure allows them to reduce the principal owed on the mortgage for a primary residence. Passage in the Senate could be a lot tougher, though.
CHETRY: All right. As we told you before, we're following breaking news out of Washington. It's the monthly jobs report that's just been released now by the Labor Department.
Our CNN money team already breaking down the numbers. Here to help you understand what those numbers mean to you and your family. Joining us is Christine Romans, as well as CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis. Christine is just getting the numbers handed to you right now from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What have you got?
ROMANS: The unemployment rate rose sharply to 8.1 percent.
ROMANS: We lost 651,000 jobs in the month of February. We are now well over four million jobs lost in this recession. We lost a lot of jobs in construction, manufacturing, services, retail trade. Looks like anything related to the consumer lost jobs. Professional and business services lost 180,000 jobs. You saw leisure and hospitality lose jobs.
Education and health services, we've seen this trend -- 26,000 jobs added in education and health services. And the government added a meager 9,000 jobs. Where there was a little bit of jobs growth, it was nowhere near enough to offset massive job losses across the spectrum in the United States' economy. This makes it at 8.1 percent, folks. The worst jobless rate since December 1983, the worst in 25 years.
Why does that matter? That was a very tough time for the American economy and for the American people. It was a tough time right then. That looks like where we are. Analysts and economists are saying there is - as one veteran on Wall Street says an atmosphere of fear and concern. The reason is we're looking at numbers like this month after month.
This is a big, important number and it shows us it's difficult to get a job. It's difficult once you're laid off to find a new job, and there are more people being laid off every single day.
ROBERTS: The worst in 25 years but the important thing is we recovered from 25 years ago.
ROMANS: And that's true. Let's always remember that those really bad, dark times were tough but there was always a snap-back. The question is we don't know when that snap back is going to be. We're just kind of in the middle of it right now.
ROBERTS: So what do you think of all this? GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, not great numbers. As Christine has been eloquently saying all day, this is an economy in transition. Yes, parts of it are creating jobs but they are few and far between. We've got some maps to show you actually where this job creation is.
Take a look at this map. This map highlights what parts of the country are hiring. The dark blue areas show where most of the jobs are. Now, light blue areas aren't as strong but there are some signs of job creation there. Gray areas, you know quite a bit fewer jobs being created and the orange area, really none at all. Now, this is coming to us from career builder. They put these numbers together. They work with 300,000 employers and 150 newspapers to compile leads for jobs.
Now, if you want to know where are the most jobs? The south leads, all regions and job creation because older people are moving to warmer climates. The nation's dependency on oil and gas and steel. Let's dig down into this just a little bit more. Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Georgia, health care here is huge as boomers retire and migrate in the south. They demand more services. Texas, growth in engineering jobs related to oil and gas, as well as health care employment.
Another big area for growth, the west. Technology is a very big job creator. Even now here, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, natural resources, mining and agriculture are providing employment opportunities. Let's go to Washington. Biotech, health care remains strong. And even in California, which has had such a hard time in this recession, there are jobs being created. Web-related occupations lead the way.
Finally, let's flip back now to the east coast. We see a lot of growth in government jobs in Washington, D.C., defense contractors and education as Christine mentioned and insurance. Also Maryland, Virginia, government is really the bright spot here in hiring with plans to expand departments even further under way.
Now, you can even look to some job creation right here in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts where we are right now, the northeast. Yes, there have been losses due to the financial crisis, but collection agencies and insurance companies are still hiring. New York and Massachusetts are also home to major academic and research institutions. So there is some job creation here. It certainly is not on the order of magnitude of the losses we're seeing, but if you're trying to reposition yourself right now, you want to know where the opportunities are.
ROBERTS: Isn't that a sign of the time, collection agencies are hiring?
CHETRY: A sad sign of the times. And I want to ask you guys to give us some perspective as well on this. We got another report out and as we said, we're getting information and we're trying to digest it for you, right here live on TV. February monthly job loss, the worse since October of 1949. Put that into perspective for us because we're a bigger economy. There are more people in the work force than there were in 1949. Are they going just by numbers?
ROMANS: The job loss, that's absolutely correct. The highest since 1949. Think what was happening in 1949, in October. Rosy, the Riveter was being laid off because the boys were coming back from the war, and you were starting to ratchet down the economy a little bit. (INAUDIBLE) Gerri said a huge transition from a war to a peacetime economy. And a lot of folks were saying we are at a huge transition from jet-fueled economy to something more sustainable.
Thirty years of debt overload has popped. The consumer lifestyle has popped that bubble and now things have changed. I want to real quickly adding on something that Gerri said because I do think it's important, where are the jobs? Ambulatory healthcare created 16,000 jobs. Gosh, 16,000 is such a big economy. Not a lot but that's where it is. And then hospitals, they are creating jobs some jobs as well.
One thing that you might notice if you haven't lost your job, you're probably feeling this where you work. Because a lot of companies are offering furloughs. You know, two weeks off the summer unpaid so that they can keep a few jobs and not have to cut people. Pay cuts. All along the way. When I talk to people who advise on this kind of stuff, they say you might - this is the kind of environment you might have to take a pay cut if they offer it instead of losing a job. Also, cuts to matching your 401(k). Some companies are trying to do everything they can to not lay off people and, god love those companies, but it means cuts someplace else.
ROBERTS: Go ahead.
WILLIS: I was going to say if you are looking for that job and maybe you look at those maps and say my goodness, I don't think my area is creating any jobs. Go to your local community college. Because these are people who are taking their curriculum and matching it to need in the community. They are very well informed on what kind of jobs are out there.
Another resource for you out there, goodwill. Your local goodwill actually trains people free in all kinds of jobs and all kinds of special expertise areas. They will help you make that transition because it's not just, you know, moving away from a consumer-based economy, it's also moving away from a manufacturing- based economy. We continue to see those jobs melt away as well.
ROBERTS: Yes, good tips for people this morning. Thanks for all of that, folks.
ROBERTS: Our entire CNN Money team helping you through these hard economic times on air and on-line. For the best places to find where the jobs are, just go to cnn.com/jobs and don't forget of course to catch Gerri and Christine this weekend breaking down more of this on their programs here on CNN. Thirty-eight minutes now after the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY (voice-over): Dora the Explorer grows up. Flowing hair and move to the big city and parents are angry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She likes Dora, because Dora is a nice little kid.
CHETRY: Tween Dora is coming. Too grown up for little girls?
SWIPER, "DORA THE EXPLORER": Oh, man!
CHETRY: Ahead on the Most News in the Morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.
If you have a young daughter, there's no doubt that you know the name, Dora the Explorer. Kids love her cartoons. Moms and dads love the characters, bilingual lessons but toy maker Mattel is upsetting some parents who say that Dora is growing up too fast.
Our Carol Costello was looking into the Dora drama for us this morning. Who knew there could ever be such a thing?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know. Who knew Dora the Explorer would become controversial. But she has. You know, the problem is Mattel is trying to keep older girls hooked on Dora so they plan to unveil a new Dora tween doll. And as you said John, parents are worried.
COSTELLO (voice-over): Dora the Explorer is beloved by the preschool set.
MERCI DEARWENT, "DORA" FAN: She goes on adventures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She goes on adventures.
COSTELLO: Yes, Merci also loves her Dora game.
DEARWANT: It's a long path.
COSTELLO: Her Dora dolls and can't get enough of Dora's TV show.
SWIPER, "DORA THE EXPLORER": Oh, man!
COSTELLO: Dora is so widely admired for her spunk, her curiosity and her intellect, Dora's TV show won an NAACP image award. Merci's mom heartily approves. GINGER DEARWENT, DAUGHTER LOVES "DORA THE EXPLORER": I think she likes Dora because Dora is a nice little kid and I like Dora because Dora's bilingual.
COSTELLO: But controversy looms on the Dora the Explorer horizon. Mattel plans to unveil a new more grownup Dora tween doll this fall, and gave parents a hint at what she'll look like in a press release. A silhouette with long flowing hair and long legs. Mattel also says tween Dora has moved to the big city and has a new fashionable look. That worries some bloggers who say Dora will soon be Bratzed out, sexualized like the Bratz dolls and become obsessed with boys like Barbie.
Others are organizing petition drives saying no makeover for Dora. The "St. Petersburg Times" parenting blog, Whoa Momma, is demanding doll maker Mattel listen to their concerns.
SHERRY ROBINSON, "WHOA MOMMA" BLOGGER: They want a doll that doesn't just -- isn't just concerned about the physical beauty, you know, some of the concerns that folks have always had about Barbie.
COSTELLO: Mattel and Nickelodeon are listening and want to assure parents tween Dora does not remotely resemble Barbie. In fact she's the anti-Barbie.
LEIGH ANNE BRODSKY, PRESIDENT, NICKELODEON PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: The reason for this doll line is to offer an alternative to moms who want their girls to stay little girls a little longer.
COSTELLO: And Mattel says tween Dora will still use her brain, but as an older girl she'll use her adventurous spirit to solve mystery with her new friends.
GINA SIRARD, MATTEL: It's not about the fashion as much as it's about Dora being able to go a little bit incognito so she can solve these mysteries that are embedded into this web.
COSTELLO: It's sort of like a modern-day Nancy Drew. How will she do that? Well your child can hook up the Dora tween doll to a computer and take Dora into a virtual world where she can change her appearance to solve those Nancy Drew type mystery. As for how the doll looks, I wish I could show you but they're not going to unveil it until fall but I did get to see it.
The tween-age Dora doll is 12 inches high with long brown hair and it isn't flowing like it is in that silhouette that you see but she has bangs. Dora the doll, the tween doll, is thin so she's (INAUDIBLE) a little tiny Dora. And she is tastefully and fashionably dressed. And she does not appear sexualized to me. But she is quite cute. Now remember the cartoon, John, will stay the same. Dora will be a little girl. It's just the doll is going to become a tween.
ROBERTS: You got to wonder though if this is the first in an on-going series of evolutions because didn't they just come out with a tattoo Barbie?
COSTELLO: Oh, yes. Some parents are really upset about that.
COSTELLO: But Mattel insists that Dora is going to continue to be a good role model for girls even though she's growing up and get rid of her friends and you know, get human friends.
ROBERTS: We can only hope. Carol Costello, thanks so much.
CHETRY: All right. And John we just found out within the past couple of minutes that the unemployment rate has now bolted up to 8.1 percent. It is the highest we've seen since 1983. Christine Romans is pouring over these reports and she's going to come back to talk a little bit more on what impact it will have on you, your job and your money. It's 45 minutes after the hour.
CHETRY (voice-over): From adored superstar to alleged felon. Shocking assault allegations against Rihanna's boyfriend, Chris Brown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are ordered not to annoy, harass, molest, threaten or use force or violence against anyone.
CHETRY: Inside the new report. What police say happened to one star at the hands of another. Ahead on the Most News in the Morning.
ROBERTS: Forty-nine minutes after the hour. And we're watching your business this morning. Just in to CNN, the new unemployment numbers and the jobless numbers. The jobs claims. Unemployment numbers. It's just terrible. However, there is a small ray of light in that the numbers that we just came out with aren't as bad as the newly revised numbers for the end of last year.
ROMANS: I like the way you're looking at this, John. Right. January and December were actually worse than we thought. We've known these numbers were big every month. December's number of 681,000 jobs lost in the months of December to end last year was the worst since 1948.
So we have been in this kind of post World War II is the best comparison for some time. We look at the unemployment rate. The percentage of the population that is out of work, or the percentage of the Labor Force, rather that's out of work. 8.1 percent, that is the highest since the 1980s. Where are the jobs? We told you this again and again, health care, hospitals, sometimes in education. Not so much in education this month.
And also the government, that's where you're seeing jobs growth. But pretty much you're seeing jobs shed across the board and economists are telling me we're in the thick of it. Expect this the next few months, if not the rest of the year.
CHETRY: All right. And so our small glimmer of hope also is that there are some sectors that are hiring. We're seeing health care hiring. And you can also check out our Web site, cnn.com/am.
ROMANS: Government jobs.
CHETRY: You said only about 9,000 added this past month, right?
ROMANS: Right. But you would expect I think with the stimulus to see more government jobs and you're going to see, hopefully, a pickup in construction and manufacturing jobs. We will be closely watching the next three reports for that.
ROBERTS: So these numbers, 651,000 jobs, slightly less than the revised number for January but then this number could be revised.
ROMANS: That's true. That's right and there have been a lot of revisions to get a handle on just how rapidly deteriorating the labor market.
ROBERTS: All right. Christine, thanks. Our entire CNN Money team is helping you through these hard economic times on air and online. For the latest and best places to find out where the jobs are, just go to cnn.com/jobs.
CHETRY: All right. Well, there are new ugly details emerging this morning about singer Chris Brown's alleged beating of his girlfriend Rihanna. The 19-year-old star now faces more than four years behind bars and two felony charges. Here is more now from Brooke Anderson.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, a somber Chris Brown made his first court appearance to face charges he beat up his girlfriend, R&B star, Rihanna.
CHRIS BROWN, R&B SINGER: Yes, ma'am.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Chris Brown's arraignment was put off until next month. At that time, he will enter a plea to two felony counts, assault and making criminal threats. Earlier in the day, the court released an affidavit from an L.A.P.D. detective with shocking details of the alleged assault that left Rihanna bruised and bloody.
According to the affidavit, the altercation began after Brown and Rihanna left a pre-Grammy party in a Lamborghini. They argued when Rihanna discovered a text message on his cell phone from another woman. Brown pulled the car over and tried to push her out but a seat belt kept her fastened inside. Brown then shoved Rihanna's head against the car window and punched her in the left eye, the affidavit says. He drove off, continuing to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused her mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle. The report further states Brown bit her ear, put her in a headlock, and threatened to kill her. Brown has publicly said he's sorry for what happened, and he received a warning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are ordered not to annoy, harass, molest, threaten or use force or violence against anyone.
ANDERSON: The order does not bar him from seeing Rihanna.
DONALD ETRA, RIHANNA'S ATTORNEY: The one issue that arose in court concerning her rights is whether or not the court should issue a stay-away order in this case. Rihanna requested that no such order be issued.
ANDERSON: That may add credence to reports the couple has reconciled since the incident. Now if true, it may complicate the district attorney's efforts to prosecute the case -- John, Kiran.
CHETRY: Brooke Anderson for us, thanks so much. A lot of tough news out there this morning but heroes as well. Still to come, a young man changing lives and keeping kids out of gangs. It's a great story, straight ahead. Fifty-three minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: We're back with the most news in the morning and time now to introduce you to our third CNN hero nominee. A young man who is changing thousands of lives by giving children the knowledge and know-how to stay clear of gangs.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN heroes.
EFREN PENAFLORIDA, JR., CHAMPIONING CHILDREN: Gang members are groomed in the slums as early as nine years old. They are all victims of poverty.
I am Efren Penaflorida Jr. In high school, gangs were very rampant. I thought of social discrimination and I was then bullied. I got afraid. So we thought of a group to actually divert teenagers to be productive. So that's why we're bringing the classroom to the kids. We operate the pushcart every Saturday. We teach them language and mathematics. And we also have our hygiene clinic.
RHANDOLF, AGE 16 (through translator): My gang mates are the most influential things in my life. I would probably be in jail right now or most likely a drug addict if I hadn't met Efren.
PENAFLORIDA: I always tell to my volunteers, you are the change that you dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.
ANNOUNCER: Tell us about your hero at cnn.com/heroes.
ROBERTS: That's going to wrap it up for us this Friday morning. Thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. We'll see you back here bright and early on Monday. Write it down on your calendar.
CHETRY: Tie, no tie, Monday?
ROBERTS: We'll have to find out. Keep them guessing.
CHETRY: All right. Well, hope you have a great weekend. Meanwhile, keep watching. CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins begins right after a short break.