STEVE CHIOTKAIS: The president today outlined a new plan to provide tax credits for companies that hire out-of-work veterans. For more on today’s employment report, we have Labor Secretary Hilda Solis with us from Washington. Madame Secretary, good morning.
CHIOTKAIS: Good morning, how are you?
HILDA SOLIS: Doing well — not bad, 117,000 jobs. But that’s not enough to grow us out of this high unemployment rate, is it?
SOLIS: Well, I would say overall if you look back at what we created in the last 17 months we added 2.4 million private sector jobs. And the last two months they had to revise up those numbers. So on an average, we’re not doing too bad, but we still need to do more. That’s why the president is out today speaking about creating jobs, getting businesses to open up their doors for some of our retuning veterans. As we know, Los Angeles and California we had a large number of our young people — men and women serving in the military that are going to be coming home looking for jobs.
CHIOTKAIS: I know we signed a debt deal yesterday that was full of a lot of spending cuts, right — to reduce the deficit —
SOLIS: Over a period of time.
CHIOTKAIS: Over a period of time.
SOLIS: Over a period of time — 10 years.
CHIOTKAIS: That’s going to have an impact on hiring, won’t it?
SOLIS: Yes, it’ll have some impacts of private contracts, I would imagine, and then, yes, we need to be pretty clear where those cuts will be made. We don’t want to continue to add to this recession and take us deeper into a recession to make sure the recovery works it’s way though. We’re starting to see that. We need to be proactive and looking at jobs — we need to make sure we get people back to work and we’ve got a stubbornly high-number of people that have been out of work for 26 weeks — about 8 million — we need to address what their concerns are to make sure they’re aptly trained and if they understand we’re coming into a new phase here of economic development that’s going to require a different set of skills. Lot of that is going to be available at places like the department of labor and one-stop centers we provide around the country.
CHIOTKAIS: What do you say to critics who charge the White House is impeding job growth because of too much regulation — financial regulation or environmental regulation?
SOLIS: That’s a constant speaking point for the opposition — I think what we really have to do is get off — our businesses have to get off the dust, the ones that have a large amount of money they’re sitting on and help to create jobs. Everyone needs to share in this recovery and certainly there’s been enough pain to spread around, but we think that this is an opportunity for businesses to come forward and to really help restore that faith in our American workers by hiring up people and we’re doing it by giving them tax breaks — we need an extension of the payroll tax. We need to also look at our ND development, our infrastructure estimates so we can create jobs in construction — address our problems we’re having with our old bridges and highways. We can put people back to work. These are bipartisan issues, by the way,
CHIOTKAIS: Why do you think companies are holding back on hiring? Is it a lack of capital or a lack of confidence
HILDA SOLIS: I think it could be a factor of both but i do think we should move on. We took care of the debt ceiling argument, now that’s done. Now we need to both look together on job creation.
CHIOTKAIS: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis joining us this morning from Washington. Madame secretary, thank you.
HILDA SOLIS: Thank you, and a big hello to all your listeners in Los Angeles.