Job seekers attend a career day in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Job seekers attend a career day in East Rutherford, New Jersey. - 
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Bill Radke: In Washington this morning, the new Labor Secretary will be sworn in. Hilda Solis will run a department that's getting more important by the month as unemployment rises. As Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson tells us, Americans are taking big cuts in pay just to get steady work.

Jeremy Hobson: Nancy Halpern does career consulting with both businesses and individuals in New York City. She says the job market has gotten so bad that applicants are willing to drop two rungs in salary and stature to get a job.

Nancy Halpern: They are pursuing those opportunities even though six months or a year ago, they would have seen that as a step backwards. They're not looking at it that way anymore.

She says she's stopped advising job-seeking clients to follow their dreams. For now, she says, just take the job. It's an employer's market.

Halpern: Companies are able to attract significant talent at salaries that are perhaps less than they would have had to pay a year or six months ago.

Labor economist Sylvia Allegretto at UC Berkeley says what Halpern is describing is being seen across the country. Just look at the latest statistics from The Labor Department.

Sylvia Allegretto: Right now, I think people are really scrambling to get work. We have about four people that are vying for about every job that's open.

That ratio, she says, is likely to get even worse in the coming months.

In New York, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson