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The outlook on America’s jobs

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Jeremy Hobson: Tomorrow is one of the most important days of the month for economists. It’s the day we get the monthly employment report from the labor department. We find out how many jobs were lost or gained in the previous month and what the new unemployment rate is. As of now, it’s 9.6 percent. So what’s next for the people behind that9.6 percent?

Let’s bring in our economics correspondent Chris Farrell. Chris, welcome back to the show.

Chris Farrell: Well thank you Jeremy.

Hobson: So we’re getting this big jobs number tomorrow. Where do you think the new jobs are going to be coming from, both in terms of location and industry?

Farrell: The jobs are health care, health care, and health care. Health care employment has been growing since the Great Recession and through this anemic recovery. And where are the jobs going to be? You know, they’re in your major cosmopolitan cities. Cities that have education, health care, finance, information age-type businesses. This is where people want to live, and this is where the job growth has been.

Hobson: Now a lot of people who have lost their jobs in the Great Recession, whether it they be in big cities or small towns, are thinking maybe they’ll get their old jobs back. Is that a realistic expectation, or are they going to have to really re-train themselves and change careers?

Farrell: I think it depends on your industry. Some industries, they’re doing fine and they’ve just had some cutbacks; they’ll be re-hiring. But so many industries today are shrinking — media is a classic example. How about the U.S. auto industry? And if you’re in that kind of an industry, you’re going to have to get some education, some training. Look at your skill set and say, ‘Well, O.K., can I shift over to health care? Can I shift over into government? What about temp work?’ These are the kinds of things people are being forced to do.

Hobson: We had these big elections this week. Do you think that the government in the last couple of years has been making the long-term policy changes that it needs to make to prepare America for the jobs of the future?

Farrell: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. The government has been focusing on the short-term, voters are angry — that’s the message of the election, not enough has been done in terms of jobs. But in terms of the long-term job outlook, it comes down to education. But state and local governments — they’re the primary players — they’ve been cutting back because of their big budget deficits.

Hobson: Marketplace economics correspondent Chris Farrell, thanks so much for joining us.

Farrell: Thanks a lot, Jeremy.

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