A Friday op-ed from labor secretary Hilda Solis tries to strike a delicate balance. At USA Today, Solis attempts to acknowledge the bad unemployment rate, point to how far we have come, encourage workers to retrain, and assert that "there are jobs out there." That's a tough set of points to make while hitting the right tone, particularly on a day when a terrible July jobs report is released. Did she pull it off? Over at National Review, Jonah Goldberg summarizes the piece as "maybe you're not looking hard enough," which probably isn't the message the administration wants to send. Here's the breakdown so you can see for yourself:
THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY
At 9.6%, the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high. So as we stem jobs losses, we must also accelerate growth in every sector of the economy--from health care and renewable energy to advanced technology and manufacturing.
HOW RETRAINING IS A PART OF THE PICTURE
We are ensuring industries that we know are growing have workers prepared through high-quality training programs that we know are working. ... I met a plumber who spent half of his life mastering his craft at a company from which he hoped to retire. ... Despite having a job that people of my father's generation thought was recession-proof, he found himself unemployed.
He didn't want to tell me his problems. Instead, he talked to me about how he was leveraging opportunity--specifically a training program made available by my department--into a new career. Although it had been years since he was in a classroom, this seasoned tradesman was learning a new trade. Soon, the classes had opened the door for him to the high-growth renewable energy industry. Today, he is a solar panel installer.
THE CALL TO RETRAIN, TO FIND THE JOBS THAT 'ARE OUT THERE'
I am not an economist. I believe that numbers only tell you part of the story. I deal with real people, and I know that the only true replacement for a job lost, is a new job that pays good wages. I'm committed to making that a reality for anyone who wants a job.
That's why I'm so excited to announce www.myskillsmyfuture.org--a new online tool to connect workers with high quality training and local employment. ... There are jobs out there. And, this Labor Day --and every day--I'm going to continue helping people find them and employers fill them.