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CNN Money Summit: Money & Main Street

Aired June 21, 2009 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey. I'm Anderson Cooper.


Two topics in the hour ahead: jobs and you.

COOPER: We're going to look at the changing employment picture, where it's improving, where it can't get much worse, why, in some places, it never got that bad, and where you fit in the picture.

VELSHI: You will meet people from across the country who are fighting their way toward a better future.

COOPER: And you're going to see how they're doing it, how can you do it, too, on this CNN Money Summit, "Money & Main Street."

Hey, welcome to another edition of "Money & Main Street." We're focusing exclusively on jobs, because that's really the bottom line. Can you support yourself? Can you support your family and provide for the future?

Employment is the last thing to recover in a recession. And while we're not there yet, the losses are slowing. And a picture is coming into focus of what the new post-recession job market may look like.

In this hour, you're going to meet the people of El Centro, California, just north of the Mexico border. Now, they're hurting badly, nearly 27 percent unemployment, the highest city in the nation. We are also going to take you to the polar opposite, Iowa City, Iowa, unemployment 3.2 percent, one local business a major exporter -- that's right, I said exporter -- to China. So what's their secret? And can that be duplicated around the country? We will look into that.

Also, Kokomo, Indiana, it's a small city with big issues, nearly a quarter of the work force building cars and auto parts. There is also a budding green industry and plenty of enterprising people trying to get in on.

And, finally, we will take you to West Hempstead on New York's Long Island. There, you are going to find a group of people with a remarkably upbeat and successful approach to job-hunting, 190 people and one horse.

As always, our CNN iReporters weigh in with their experiences looking for work and simply hanging on to what they got. A new wrinkle as well -- iReporters documenting what it looks like where they live and work. We're calling that "My Main Street."

Also, Facebook pulses, quick surveys of Facebook users. Question one: Unemployment was 5 percent when the recession started. It's now 9.4 percent. When do you think we will return to 5 percent? This year? Next year? Within five years? Within 10 years? More than 10 years? Your answers shortly -- Ali.

VELSHI: Anderson, that was a cynical ploy to say that there is a horse in the show just to get people to stick around.

Let's quickly introduce the panel members and get their take on the question of when unemployment gets back to where we were when we started this recession at just under 5 percent.

CNN senior political analyst David Gergen joins us, as always, Donna Rosato from "Money" magazine, and financial adviser Ryan Mack. Also, on this side, we have got Leigh Gallagher from "Fortune" magazine, economic Stephen Leeb, and Christine Romans, co-host of CNN's "YOUR MONEY," my co-host on that show.

You saw Anderson's first Facebook poll. When will we back to 5 percent unemployment? I know that the numbers don't really say that we're -- we're not going to be there for a long time with that one. But the panel is with us throughout the hour both here and online answering your questions.

Join the Facebook chat session from the link at And the first discussion topic that you will find on there, our panelists are answering those questions and talking to you there. How much can and should the government do to create jobs?


COOPER: All right, Ali, we will have the answer to that shortly.

Our first virtual town hall of the hour is in Kokomo, Indiana, population 45,000, four Chrysler plants, Delphi electronics, manufacturing on a big scale, but in a sector, cars, that's shrinking. People in Kokomo are adapting, but it is a battle.

With us now is Jeb Conrad, head of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, Chris Rohaly, founding partner of Green Alternatives, but he's also holding down a job in the auto industry, and Kirk Daniels, owner of Freedom Financial Group, a local investment firm.

Kirk, I want to start with you. You were raised in Kokomo. The auto industry has had big ups and downs over the years. Jobs always have come back, though. Do you think that's going to happen again?

KIRK DANIELS, OWNER, FREEDOM FINANCIAL GROUP: Well, I think everybody knows that jobs to a certain extent have already left. And what we're trying to do in this community is find not only as many auto jobs as we can find, but branch out and diversify.

We have got a lot of talented people sitting here that can be used in many different areas.

COOPER: And, Jeb, part of the problem, as you know, nearly a quarter of the population was working in the auto industry. And you say that had Chrysler and Delphi closed their plants in Kokomo, it would have been devastating. What do you think is Kokomo doing to be less reliant on the auto industry? How do you try to get beyond that?

JEB CONRAD, GREATER KOKOMO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ALLIANCE: Well, we have got to be encouraging and entrepreneurial in nature.

I mean, the bottom line is, is Kirk kind of hit on it a little bit, which is how do we take the talent and the skill sets and assets in this community and diversify them, so that we're less reliant directly on that industry sector?

The good news is, is that that sector has some life back in it, especially here in our community, with the plants coming back online and part of the new -- new relationship with Fiat. So, that brings us some hope and opportunity there.

But we really need to diversify that, encourage entrepreneuralism, and we have done that.

COOPER: And how do you -- how are you going to about doing that?

CONRAD: Well, we have an incubator now, for example, that brings all the resources, financial resources, low operating cost space and all the assets that you would need to really build a new business plan.

And a lot of that comes from that talent base that's been shed as part of the process associated with the downturn and the change and the shrinking of the auto industry. We have a company of consulting engineers that were formally Delphi related, which is some of the highest-skilled technicians in the world.

COOPER: Kirk, you're a financial planner. Your business must be affected by all these layoffs and buyouts.

DANIELS: Oh, absolutely.

We have a fairly continuous stream of automotive employees that two years ago thought they were in great shape. They have had to take early retirements. They have had to take bonus incentive packages. We're continuously trying to counsel people on how to find new jobs, how to start businesses.

It's not so much the investing of the money they have, because they need it right now to eat. It's a serious issue. We have some of most talented engineer and -- and labor force in the world. These plants are sophisticated and always have been.

COOPER: Chris, you know that firsthand. You work in the auto industry. You have also started, though, a green technology company, trying to basically hoping for job security in the future. Tell us about that, about that company, why you think it could work in Kokomo. CHRIS ROHALY, FOUNDING PARTNER, GREEN ALTERNATIVES: Well, we think it can work in Kokomo because even though we're not a notorious sunbelt here in the Midwest, technology is -- well, for one thing, it's very parallel to a lot of what many of the technicians that Jeb talked about have worked on here for years.

It's high-voltage, high-current D.C., which is not too far off of automotive electronics from a technology standpoint. But we have also studied a lot of where the technology is going and where policies and green industries are going, especially like in Germany, for instance.

We honestly believe, as do most analysts, that it's not too long into the future before the price curves of technologies like standard photovoltaic solar and some upcoming breakthroughs are at cost parity with conventionally -- like, coal-burning-generated electricity. And then it doesn't matter if you're in the Southwest. It will be a viable business everywhere.


COOPER: Jeb, do you think -- do you still see, Jeb, a manufacturing sector in Kokomo? I mean, do you see that in the future?

CONRAD: Absolutely. Our history and our legacy is in the areas of manufacturing and advanced manufacturing.

And we believe that there is still a -- obviously a proficiency here in this community to continue to do manufacturing. And I think what the real piece is, is how do we diversify that in a little different manner and also find emerging industries, similar to what Chris was talking about, which is how do we lasso some of those to tie that together with the assets and the talent we have here?

And we believe we're getting outside of that box. We're being more strategic about that. And we have also had fortunate circumstances of actually learning from history from some communities around the country that have been in a situation similar to us, not exactly the same, but similar.

COOPER: Jeb, you are talking about talent.

Chris, you clearly have a lot of talent. You're able to run a startup while also having a full time job. How do you do that?

ROHALY: Well, a lot of the work is happening by people who are not as fully employed as I am.

We actually have, even though we're not -- the industry is nowhere near mature. And, yet, there's enough people interested in it that I have got cooperation from sectors that will be vital to it, you know, the skilled trades, some -- some very gifted contractors who are underutilized, electricians. And so they're doing the bulk of the work. And I'm able to keep up right now in my off hours between the paying day job.

COOPER: Well, I can't imagine you're getting a lot of sleep, but let's hope it pays off.

I appreciate your time tonight, Kirk Daniels, Jeb Conrad, and Chris Rohaly. Thanks very much -- Ali.

VELSHI: Anderson, thanks.

Blue-collar workers, manufacturing workers actually being able to translate that into alternative energy, that's a big deal out there. We're going to come back and talk about green-collar jobs, what the future of those are, and the future of high-paying blue-collar jobs. Is that over?

Well, before we go to break, I want to quickly show you something. This is a map of job changes across 10 major industries in the United States in 2009. Take a look at this. Almost everything is deep red. Everybody lost jobs when you look across all industries.

Now I want to show you something else. Take a look at job changes when you just look at health care and energy. Look at the difference. The gold means that there have actually been gains. Red or dark orange means there have been losses. Health care and education, eds and meds, that's a big deal. Iowa City, Iowa, has both of those things. And that's why it has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

We're going there next. Stay with us. This is "Money & Main Street" on CNN.



VELSHI: We're back with our panel.

We're talking about issues raised before the break by people in Kokomo, Indiana, also tackling the related question both here and online, how much can and should the government do to create jobs?

Well, that really hits home in Kokomo, where the old manufacturing sector is shrinking, as it is everywhere where there is a manufacturing sector in this country. And just possibly a new version of the manufacturing sector is struggling to be born.

Well, what role should the government play in that?

Let's join our panel now and see what they have got to say about that.

Let's start with David Gergen.

David, this is such an important question throughout this entire recession, what role should government play in any of this? You heard those people in Kokomo. Should government have a role in this?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of course government should help a great deal on providing social support, a safety net for people who are getting hurt during recession. We did that during the Depression.

We have done it at other times during sharp recessions. But, very importantly, the government shouldn't be doing -- just doing short- term things. The government ought to be investing in the future. And that's through research and development, the kind of early bench science, the kind of early research in engineering that leads to discoveries, that leads to new industries.

After all, the Internet started with an investment from the Department of Defense and trying to learn how to communicate better within the military. And it led to an explosion in information technologies and lots and lots of jobs. And the government could be doing the same thing on energy.

VELSHI: Stephen, let me -- I want to show you all actually a chart of what has happened in terms of the jobs that have been lost in this recession. It's very, very -- it really stops you in your tracks when you look at it.

Take a look at this. Since s January of '08, which is when the job losses began, even though the recession began in December of '07, take a look at. That they were relatively small. And then they started to accelerate. And as we got into September, that was when the credit crisis really set in, October, November. Look at that.

In January, in the 700,000-jobs-a-month range being lost. We're supposed to be gaining 100,000 to 150,000 a month just to keep the unemployment rate level. Now look at what happened. Look at what happened in April and May.

I mean, 345,000 jobs lost is staggering by any standard. But it's half of what we lost in prior months. What does this say about where jobs are going right now to our viewer?

STEPHEN LEEB, ECONOMIST: Well, it says that we're still losing a lot of jobs, Ali, and that basically we're still running at a very, very low pace.

But I think the crisis is over. And the economy is no longer tumbling hand over fist. I mean, it's sort of steady at this point.

VELSHI: So, then the question remains, where do you look for these jobs? If this recession ends soon, it doesn't mean everybody is getting a job. I mentioned Iowa City, Iowa, a few minutes ago. We're going to go there and talk to some people. But it's because of education and health care, Donna.

DONNA ROSATO, SENIOR WRITER, "MONEY": That's right. It's not a coincidence that, while there are large numbers of metro areas that have had very high unemployment, there's a huge swathe of this country that has unemployment, something like 117 metro areas, unemployment less than 7 percent.

And they share a couple things in common, education, universities, and non-manufacturing, and a diversity of industries and employers. You put those three together, and you can train the people that you need to retrain if you have universities, community colleges. But you need a diversity of industry to survive as well.

VELSHI: Ryan, you and I were talking about this earlier in the week, the fact that there are training courses out there. There are people graduating from junior colleges and two-year colleges with diplomas and certifications that are allowing them to go into the work force with relatively good pay right now. And that might be where people need to be looking right now.

RYAN MACK, PRESIDENT, OPTIMUM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Well, the problem is that some -- you might have to be willing to go into the realm of the underemployed. Even though these training courses might not be the necessary skill sets that you would want, they are great-paying jobs.

And the problem that a lot of organizations are having is putting people in the seats. I know of one community college in Michigan that actually had stimulus funding rescinded because they did not have the adequate participation to actually come out and get the people to come out and sit in the seats. And

if I could just look at Kokomo right here, I think it's a great example of, yes, the government, it should assist, but they're picking up the slack. They're doing -- they're developing incubator databases. They're taking skill -- leveraging skill sets. They're doing all these things to come together as a community and picking up the slack for the government actually (INAUDIBLE) But they're doing a great job at it.

VELSHI: Want to just take you back to this map that is on the wall right now. This is education and health services. Remember, when I showed you the job changes in 2009 across the country, it was all red. In other words, every state lost jobs, in fact, a good amount of them.

Now look at this one. When you look at education and health care, it's very different. Now we have just changed this over to job creation in 2009 in government jobs. Take a look at this. There is still a lot of red in California, in the Northeast, in the Southeast. But there's actually some states where government jobs are actually being created.

So, that's another big deal.

Christine, we're going to go to your home, your home state of Iowa. And I know you have got a lot to say about the fact that it's the diversity of employment there, not the dependence on one kind of job, that is the big deal.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's education. And that's absolutely right. When you look at these towns that are just auto towns, they have just been devastated.

The role of government in all of this, of course, Ali, is the building blocks. I, mean just creating jobs with government spending and taxpayer money isn't enough. You have got to create the infrastructure, so that these towns can adapt and can have different kinds of jobs. The education and health services, the thing that worries me about that job growth, much of that job growth is very low-wage jobs. So, you're replacing a manufacturing job that can sustain a family with jobs where people are -- in some cases, if you're a home health aide, you're barely above the poverty line.


ROMANS: Is that kind of future we want to be creating? And what is government going to do to make sure that the jobs that are replacing the lost jobs are the kinds of jobs that can grow a family, so they can afford an education?

VELSHI: The kind of jobs on which the middle class in this country was built.

ROMANS: Was built.

VELSHI: I'm going to have to take a break, but we're going to continue this conversation.

And, by the way, the conversation continues online. Our panelists are logged into the live chat. So, you can find the link at That's all one word,

Our next question is, what will the future look like for the American worker, one, five, and 10 years from now? As Christine was saying, are the jobs that are going to be created the ones that can sustain families and build a middle class?


COOPER: Ali, thanks very much.

Our first iReport tonight comes from John Stephens (ph) in Torrington, Connecticut. Take a look.


With all the programs that Obama put out there, President Obama put out there, not one of them was able to help me.

Being unemployed, I was unable to pay my mortgage, so now I'm out. I am out of my home after seven years, very devastating. But I'm going to move on and move forward and start a new life.

I was in the automotive business. I worked for Chrysler back in October 2008. Now, with GM and Chrysler closing all of these dealerships in our area, it just makes it very -- harder for me to find a job now, because all those people who are going to be out of a job are now looking for the same job that I'm looking for. And the line waiting to get these jobs has now grown even more.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: The lines are long, and that's the hard reality.

Even though new figures show it is shrinking more slowly, the job market is shrinking all the same, which is why only 4 percent of people in our lead Facebook pulse say unemployment will return to 5 percent within the year, which is where it was when the recession began -- 20 percent say next year -- 57 percent say within five years, within 10 years, only 1 percent. No one who answered the Facebook poll says it's going to be more than 10 years before unemployment returns to pre-recession levels.

Our next question, have you or someone you know lost their job? No. Yes, I lost my job. Yes, a friend or family member. Or, yes, I lost my mine and know others who have, too. Answers ahead.

It is a simple fact that 100 percent of our next guests would pick the last option on that Facebook pulse. After the break, we will talk with members of a social club for job-seekers. They have an unconventional approach and a pretty good success rate as well, that one non-human member, which is why we're at a stable tonight in West Hempstead, Long Island.

We will explain when "Money & Main Street" continues.


COOPER: We're talking about jobs in this CNN "Money & Main" Summit.

For many Americans, losing a job means losing their health insurance. For tens of millions more, though, health insurance is simply out of reach, job or no job. That is the situation for iReporter Monica (ph) in Jackson, Florida -- Jacksonville, Florida.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name is Monica.

And I'm recording this in response to the iReport about hanging on to your health care. I have never in my working adult life had health insurance. I have always worked for small businesses, who cannot afford to offer me health insurance. And private health insurance, if I was to go and get it on my own, would cost over a third of what I make monthly.

So, it's not something as a single mom that I can do affordably. I have definitely gone to the emergency room, instead of the doctor. I broke my arm. And instead of having a doctor to go to, to get pain medication, I sat in the E.R. for eight hours. Yes.


COOPER: That is iReporter Monica in Jacksonville, Florida.

And one of our next guests made a major sacrifice just to keep health insurance for his family. He's one of 190 people on New York's Long Island who have hit on what they think is a winning formula for getting through this recession and getting a job.

As you're going to see, it calls for networking, counseling, support, laughter, and even a horse. I promise we're going to explain the horse shortly.

It is called the Long Island Breakfast Club and was founded in the town of Hempstead.

With us tonight is club founder Valentina Janek, Jim Altamore, a construction worker who is also making money from his passion for singing, Robert Wu, who volunteered for months at the company that ultimately gave him a job, and Howie Sadowsky, salesman for Jared Jewelry, who took the job and a drastic pay cut to preserve health benefits for his family.

So, Howie, after you lost your job, you ended up taking this new job that pays you $65,000 less than what you used to make, just so you could have health coverage for your families. That is clearly -- that must have been a huge sacrifice.


But the medical benefits that was offered by Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry, was huge. And in order to keep my family covered, I thought it was the best move to make. As far as the financial stress that we're under as a result, banks are willing to work. Mortgage companies are willing to work. Every place where we owe money is willing to work us with.

But, with those benefits, it just gives us a little bit of a less of the stress -- a reason for not having to depend on -- on paying almost $15,000 to $20,000 a year on health insurance.

COOPER: Yes. Well, it's great that your...


COOPER: ... lenders are willing to work with you.




COOPER: Valentina, Howie and his wife both lost their jobs. But they joined the job club that you founded, which is the Long Island Breakfast Club, they both found employment. Why do you think you have such a success rate?

VALENTINA JANEK, PRESIDENT, LONG ISLAND BREAKFAST CLUB: I believe we have a success rate because we're a grassroots organization that is actually acting as a recession buster. And we get people to think out of the box and they join us and we provide camaraderie, we can provide advice, and we also provide laughter, which is very important when you're going through job loss. COOPER: And do people pay to be a part of this club?

JANEK: Well, we really just take a slight donation to help pay for the breakfast and provide very good advice, and very, very good printed information to help you connect to others in the business world to try to get a job by meeting presidents.

COOPER: Robert, you landed a job in a very non-traditional way. You actually started volunteering at a company for free. How did that work out for you?


I actually was interviewing at Dale Carnegie Long Island for a job. They said, we don't have any jobs now, but how would you like to coach for us? So, I said, yes, why not? So, after about six months of coaching, I was actually given a full-time job opportunity to work for Dale Carnegie Long Island.

COOPER: Is that something you would recommend for other people if they're able to, you know, pay themselves for that amount of time?

WU: Well, I think if you have the passion for doing things like that -- and this is something that I have worked on in the past. I was a Dale Carnegie graduate about 30 years ago -- and something I like to do. So, I didn't buy into it, but it just happened that there was a full-time job opening that came up after volunteering for six months.

COOPER: Jim, part of -- of what you say makes this club work is sharing life experiences with other people, hearing their stories, telling them your stories. And so you can literally learn from one another.

You say that, if you're unemployed, you have nothing to lose, that you need to take what you love to do and try to figure out how to make money doing just that. How did you turn your passion into a second paying job?

JIM ALTAMORE, CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Well, years ago, I took a look inside and said, you know, I'm doing a 9:00-to-5:00 job and making a living. But I want to do something that makes me happy and gives me a chance to express myself.

And singing was it. And I began on that road a number of years ago, and it actually became a secondary income stream. So, I would urge everyone to take a look in these times. You have nothing to lose, especially if you're unemployed. Take a shot. Look in your heart. Look inside your heart. Look at your hobbies. You may be able to turn one of those into a secondary stream of income, which could lessen the blow, as you -- as you work on the other side.

COOPER: Well, it looks like our horse is getting a little bit restless. We're going to explain what that -- what the horse is about coming up in just a moment.

Jim, Robert, Howie, Valentina, stay right there. We will come back to you all.

Ali, it's great to see people banding together, helping one another to get through this.

VELSHI: Yes. Yes, I have got a smile on my face, involuntarily. These are people who lost their jobs and found reasons to get back to work.

But one of them was telling you about taking a job just for health insurance. Let's talk about why that is such a big deal in this country. Take a look at this. A family of four might qualify for unemployment insurance of about $1,278 a month, not much to get by for a month.

But take a look at this. One of the things that you get when you get health insurance is you are -- when you lose your job, is the ability to pay for health insurance through something called COBRA. But that is very, very expensive. Of that $1,278, if you elect to pay for COBRA, take a look at this. For a family of four, that will take $1,069 out of the $1,278,, leaving a family of four $209 to get make it through the month.

That is just not an option for most people, which is why some people will take a job that pays a lot less. Now, under the stimulus bill, the government offered a subsidy, because they realized that there are so many people losing their jobs that that's just not practical. Nobody was taking health insurance. And that is just not good for the -- for society in general.

So, with the subsidy, the picture changes substantially. Now, out of the $1,278 a month, the family will only have pay $374 for COBRA -- that's an extension of their work health insurance -- and will have $904 to carry on through the course of the month. Again, that $904 doesn't go a long way for a family of four.

But compare the pre-subsidy bite that COBRA took out of that monthly check to the post-subsidy bite. It's a lot better. This is not a permanent fix. It's -- it's a temporary fix. But it does tell you why health care is such a big deal.

Take a look at this map. This is uninsured people in America, the percentage of the working -- the working -- the population that is uninsured. And you can see it looks a lot like the unemployment map in the country.

You have got a lot of -- a lot of red on the West Coast. And in the middle of the country, you've got a little bit, a least at the top.

But across the south, you've got a lot of problems. And in the southeast, you've got a lot of problems. You can see why this is so closely tied to the economy and, Leigh, the president had said you can't have a full economic recovery without dealing with health care.

LEIGH GALLAGHER, SENIOR EDITOR, FORTUNE: Absolutely. I think this is a great example of the ripple effects of the current unemployment situation. I mean it affects everything. It affects housing with foreclosures.

It affects health care and -- which is already a really serious problem as we already know. It's dire. And this is just going to exacerbate it. I mean the number of uninsured Americans is probably well understated by this point because of our new unemployment.

VELSHI: Well, I find it interesting that the number that the administration tends to use is 46 million people. But that hasn't changed in a while. And the fact is a lot more people are unemployed.

So when you have 1 percentage up tick in the unemployment rate, that usually means another million people unemployed. So we're definitely above 50 million people, Donna, unemployed -- uninsured in this country. This problem continues to get worse.

DONNA ROSATO, SENIOR WRITER, MONEY: It is a growing problem. I mean you look at the number of people who are -- what are called contingent workers. Those are people who independent contractors, part time who don't have insurance. They make up almost 30 percent of the workforce today.

And if we don't get health care fixed, it's going to grow to 40 percent over the next two decades. And that's a really scary number for folks.

VELSHI: All right. Hold that thought. We're going to continue this conversation with this very creative breakfast club in Long Island. A moment ago Anderson mentioned a horse. You saw a picture of it.

Up next, we're going to head back -- there it is -- to West Hempstead to explain and introduce you to Oopsie, that's the little horse's name, which is related to the job hunt. That's when our CNN Money Summit, "Money & Main Street" returns. Stay with us.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Back with another Facebook pulse answers. A pulse is a quick, unscientific snapshot of the user opinion on Facebook. The question: have you or someone you know lost your job? 19 percent of respondents said no, 14 percent, yes, I lost my job. 54 percent tell Facebook yes, a friend or family member lost a job, and 13 percent say yes, I lost a job and I know others who have as well.

So the next question, a vital one, for consumer confidence, if you are employed, how safe do you think your job is? If you have a job now, how safe do you think it is? Do you think, I have nothing to worry about? I could lose it soon? I expect to lose it soon? Or never thought about it.

Answers coming up in a moment.

Back with the members of the Long Island Breakfast Club right now, though. Talking about adapting, coping and smiling whenever possible. Valentina Janek, Robert Wu, Howard Sadowsky, Jim Altamore, and a horse names Oopsie. We'll get to the horse in just a moment. Howie, Valentino has said that the job market has changed. Searching for a job is not like it used to be. How do you see it as different?

HOWIE SADOWSKY, SALESMAN, JARED JEWELRY, TOOK JOB SOLELY FOR HEALTH BENEFITS: Well, for the group in the Long Island Breakfast Club, we're all pretty much professionals that have been in or out of the job force for a long time. But we all have vast amount of knowledge in our different areas of work and expertise where we're from.

So go and find a job now today, companies are not looking for people to give them a high salary because of what they know. They would rather -- I think, they would rather hire someone of young or maybe out of college for a lot less money as opposed to hiring people like -- such as ourselves.

So it makes it very difficult. But the fact that we have the group behind us, the fact that we have the comradeship that we have, it helps us cope with what's going on. And for us, when we do find a job, if we have to take the pay cut and take the medical package that go with it, I suggest we do. And go along in those lines.

COOPER: Robert, the reason you were searching for jobs is you decided to be a stay-at-home dad and were out of work for three years. How did that help or hurt you when you actually came back into the workforce?

ROBERT WU, DALE CARNEGIE LONG ISLAND: Well, it kind of hurt because I might have waited a little bit too long. I took off four years ago. Almost five years ago from Starbucks. I was traveling about 90 percent of the time. And I decided that enough traveling.

I want to focus more on my family and devote full time to my children for about a year, year and a half, two years. That actually got -- extended to four years because I couldn't find a job. So -- but two years into it, I started looking for a job. But I still -- in my job search felt that family is number one for me. So the job I searched for was -- allowed me to have balance with my work as well as my family.

COOPER: Yes, being on the road 90, 95 percent -- that's just -- that's crazy.

Valentino, you we're -- we're interviewing you from the stable. We've been talking about this horse because one of the more popular members of your club is this horse. What's Oopsie's role?

VALENTINA JANEK, FOUNDER, LONG ISLAND BREAKFAST CLUB: Well, the Lakewood Stables here in West Hempstead reached out to the breakfast club when they heard what we were doing. And our club is all about keeping people positive out a job. And Alex, the owner, gave us a horse to lease so that our members, when they go on an interview and they're stressing out could come to the horse stables and free their minds.

And if they feel bad about an interview, Oopsie makes them better. And we actually had a contest. The membership named the horse. And Oopsie is really our mascot and keeps us going. When we're -- when we're a little down, we're at this horse ranch. And it's a fabulous situation. It really is.

COOPER: When the recession is over, maybe you can change Oopsie's name -- do something, you know, a more positive...

VELSHI: Yahoo!

COOPER: Yahoo! Exactly says Ali Velshi.

Jim, we talked you to earlier...

JANEK: Well...

COOPER: ... about turning your love and music into more than a hobby. Now helps you pay the bills. You've got a national audience. I hate to put you on the spot. But can we hear out a little Sinatra or something?

JIM ALTAMORE, CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Sure, you can. And by the way, I'm going to take advantage of the national audience and show you my latest CD.


"License to Swing," which is available at my Web site.

COOPER: Good for you.

ALTAMORE: This is another way, you get an income. In any event, yes, here's a favorite Sinatra song.

(Singing) I've got the world on a string on a rainbow, got the string around my finger. What a world, what a life, I'm in love.


ALTAMORE: (Singing) I've got a song that I sing, I can make the rainbow anytime I move my finger.

COOPER: All right.

ALTAMORE: Lucky me. Can't you see I'm in love?

COOPER: Very nice. Very well done. Nice job.


ALTAMORE: Thank you. Well, thank you.

COOPER: Well, Valentina Janek, Robert Wu, Howie Sadowsky, Jim Altamore, I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

VELSHI: You're not coming to me after that, Anderson. COOPER: Yes.

VELSHI: A horse and a guy singing Sinatra? You are a mean...

COOPER: Top that. Top that.

VELSHI: Mean, mean, man.

COOPER: Top that, Ali Velshi.

VELSHI: Yes -- no, thanks very much. How about if we go to our panel?

Ryan Mack, you are -- you've always been a positive force about this. When things have been terrible, you've been on this panel saying, you know what? Don't wait for it to get better. Go out. Pull yourself up. Do things like this. This has got to be very close to your heart what you're seeing happen here.

RYAN MACK, PRESIDENT, OPTIMUM CAPITAL MGMT.: It really is. I mean at the end of the day, what else can you do besides have faith and be positive? You know faith really means that half of it believing that things are going to get better. And people act on what they really believe in.

So if you believe that things are going to get worse, you're not -- you going to act on things getting worse and you're not going to work as hard.

This town is really acting on things that we believe that things are going to get better because they the faith. They're starting companies. They're taking up businesses. They're searching inside themselves and finding out their passions and purposes in life. And I commend all of them for that.

VELSHI: All right. Got a beautiful horse, we've got a beautiful singer. We have Ryan telling us how great it is. Let's bring the economists in to burst our bubble.


STEPHEN LEEB, AUTHOR, "GAME OVER": No, I think, Ali, one word I haven't heard mentioned yet is the Internet. The Internet is a remarkable source for both education. If there's one thing that correlates with unemployment and pay -- I mean if you have a bachelor's degree, your pay is likely to be twice that as someone who doesn't have a high school degree. Your unemployment -- you don't even know there is a recession going on.

VELSHI: Well, let me show you...

LEEB: But...

VELSHI: Let me show you what the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us are the fastest growing jobs. And right after that, I want to show you the unemployment rate as it divides up by education level. But let's start with the top fastest growing jobs. These are not industries. When you look at industries, you still got health care and you still got education.

But network systems, data communications. You talked about the Internet. A bachelor's degree for that. You look at personal and home health aides. Christine talked about that. Low-paying, but you only need on-the-job training for it. Computer software engineers. You need a bachelor's degree at a minimum but they're still hiring.

Vet technologies, you need an associate degree and personal financial adviser, with a bachelor's degree, although that worries me a little bit because sometimes you need a little more experience with.

Can I just quickly show you again what you Stephen talked about education levels and how they affect you? I'm not sure if I can pull that up. Here we go. Let's take a look at this. This is unemployment by education levels for people over the age of 25.

If you have a bachelor's degree or higher, you only have a 4.75 percent, 4.76 percent unemployment rate. If you've got some college or an associate's degree, less than a bachelor's degree, it's higher but it's lower than at national average, 7.72 percent.

If you are only a high school graduate, you are a little above the national average of 10 percent. And if you don't have a high school diploma, 15.5 percent. If you're a dropout from high school it's 20 percent.

So I think that's a very, very important thing for you to -- to think about. The other important thing for you to think about is where you live and where the jobs are. Let's take a look at unemployment by state. This is a map of the whole country. As I say, gold is good. Red is bad.

Take a look at where unemployment is the highest in this country. But take a look at the place where unemployment is at the highest rate of all. The city area with the highest unemployment rate is El Centro California, east of San Diego. Look at that. 26.9 percent is the unemployment there.

Now I want to show you, we've talked about this a few times where the unemployment rate is the lowest in the country. And that is Iowa City, Iowa. Take a look at that. An unemployment rate of 36.3 percent. We've talked about this because it's got meds and eds. It's got hospitals, it's got health care and it's got education.

Take a look at California, Oregon. Take a look at the southwest, the southeast and, of course, Michigan. We're going to visit Iowa City, Iowa. We're going to -- and we're going to find out about why things are as good as they are there. We're going to go to El Centro.

What you really care about more than anything else is the chance that can you land a job in the city where you live and work. So let's go and show you those places. We're coming right back with CNN's Money Summit, "Money & Main Street" right after this.

ANNOUNCER: CNN Money Summit, "Money & Main Street," presented by...


COOPER: You're the CNN Money Summit, "Money & Main Street." The focus is on jobs. Now a moment ago Ali showed you how it looks on the map. Right now how it feels at street level.

Two cities, two extremes. Iowa City, Iowa boasting the lowest jobless rate in the country, 3.2 percent. It's a point of pride but sometimes also a source of concern.

Joining us from there is Iowa City mayor, Reginia Bailey, and Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa, by far the biggest employer in town.

The other extreme, El Centro, California, 26.9 percent unemployment, highest in the nation in El Centro. Mayor Ben Solomon and Anthony Plancarte -- excuse me Anthony Plancarte who was laid off three months ago as an assistant general manager at a local mall join me.

Anthony, let me start with you. You're currently unemployed. You've applied for some 20 jobs in the area. You've got a master's degree in sports management. I understand you're weary about letting potential employers know your full education level. Why?

ANTHONY PLANCARTE, SEEKING EMPLOYMENT: Well, lately I've been into interviews and I've had to defend my master's degree. So for depending on the job I'm applying for now is I will -- I will be -- I'll remove my master's degree from the resume. So hopefully I'll have a better chance at getting that job.

COOPER: Why? They think you're overqualified?

PLANCARTE: Yes. In two interviews they were questioning the master's degree if -- they wouldn't think I would last there too long. So I was just -- they plain just told me, you know what? You're overqualified for this position.

COOPER: And how difficult is it looking for a job right now in El Centro? I mean, with high unemployment like that, you've been searching for a while now?

PLANCARTE: Well, recently -- well, when I was first let go, there was quite a bit of jobs out there. So I was able to get my resume out, applications. But in May, there was really no job openings for somebody of my caliber.

Right now, little by little, we're seeing more job openings. But it's a fight. I believe I was just at an interview with our county. And there was like 16 or 17 people interviewing for one job.


Mayor Solomon, Anthony's story certainly isn't a new one for you. I know you carry two cell phones, one for your family and one state calls from your constituents. What are they asking you for right now? MAYOR BEN SOLOMON, EL CENTRO, CALIFORNIA: Well, basically, where are the jobs at? And what I tell people is really quite simple. And one of them is that the fact that sometimes we get put into the wrong positions, for example. Retailing is not a big thing in El Centro. That is out right now. Construction is not a big thing because no one is building anything. That's out right now.

The types of jobs that people should be applying for is government. They are hiring. The Border Patrol, the national security, they're hiring right now. The bee factory, we have a bee factory here that's hiring right now. The hospital here in El Centro, a hospital that is owned by the city is looking for 40 nurses.

I mean we have a shortage of nurses. But they have a shortage of nurses all over the United States right now.

COOPER: I know...

SOLOMON: So basically it's just...

COOPER: And a big part of your economy is relied on agriculture for a long time which even in good times hasn't employed enough people. I know you guys are trying to explore other ways to bring in jobs. What you are trying to do?

SOLOMON: Well, one of the things that's happening right now is that this little city -- a little town in Plaster City, they just received a sum of the money from the president on the stimulus. And they're in the process of -- they received $200 million for solar energy.

And I think that that's where our future lies. We have seven companies here right now doing geothermal and solar energy. And we just added another one. And I think that this is the ideal place. Flood ground, wind blows -- I mean we have water, we have people, and we have plenty of land down here.

COOPER: I want to...

SOLOMON: We're not asking for a handout.

COOPER: Right.

SOLOMON: But a hand-up.

COOPER: Hand-up.

I want to go to Iowa City. Mayor Bailey, you say the key to Iowa City's success is the diversity in business there. How do you even get to keep the unemployment level so low?

MAYOR REGINIA BAILEY, IOWA CITY, IOWA: Well, our top six employers by numbers are in the health care industry and education. But if you go farther down, we have quite a wide variety of different sectors in the other employers.

So it provides the opportunity for there to be a wide range of opportunities for our graduates from the University of Iowa and others in the area to use their education.

COOPER: Sally, it's so stark when we see the difference between what's happening in El Centro, what's happening where you are. Have you seen a change in enrollment in your university with this change in the job market?

SALLY MASON, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA: Actually, the enrollments at the university are remaining stable. Six months ago I think we were all wondering at all of the universities exactly it enrollment might look like for coming year. And now it's -- it appears that as we see in most down economies, a lot of people are looking to the higher education segment to improve themselves and obviously train for the jobs of the future.

COOPER: You did, though, just announce a small number of layoffs, right?

MASON: That's correct. In fact, we've been spared what so many other communities have had to go through which is in many cases large numbers of layoffs. Thus far, we've really on a workforce of about 23,000 here in -- at the university in Iowa City, we're looking at layoffs of about 130 from our hospitals and none so far from the university itself.

So at least at this point in time we're feeling like we're managing our way through this economic recession about as well as anyone could hope.

COOPER: Again, the shortage at the hospital in El Centro, layoff at the university hospital.

Mayor Bailey, even with such low employment, you say there is a potential drawback. What is that?

BAILEY: Well, the potential drawback is as we recruit employers to come to the area, they have concerns about actually finding the workforce that they would need. The advantage, of course, is we have a very large labor set area in excess of six counties.

Just imagine, we're in Iowa, a 25-minute ride is from town to town. That would be across a large city. So we do have the opportunity. And that's something that we have to convince employers of when we're recruiting them to the area.

COOPER: Different towns, different needs.

Mayor Ben Solomon, Anthony Plancarte in El Centro, California, Mayo Reginia Bailey, and Sally Mason, Iowa City, Iowa. Thanks for your time tonight. We appreciate it.

We're also getting another batch of pulse results from Facebook. The question, if you are employed, how safe do you think your job is? 61 percent replied, I have nothing to worry about. 19 percent said I could lose it soon. 7 percent said they expect to lose it soon. 13 percent say they've never given any thought about losing their job. The question: how far would you be willing to move if you knew there was a job waiting for you? I would not move. Closest town or city, closest state, across the country, or I would move overseas for a job.

Back with Ali and the panel. Next talking jobs and where to find them and how to make any locality better for job growth as our "Money & Main Street" special continues. We'll be right back.


VELSHI: My poor panel, we haven't heard about them -- heard from them because they've been typing away madly because you've been communicating with them on Facebook.

So let's talk to some of them about what they're hearing and what you've been hearing from our guest that we've been -- that Anderson's been talking to. Stephen?

LEEB: Ali, I just want to tie together, you know, the high unemployment town in California and Iowa City, low unemployment town.

Here's a fellow in California who has to drop his master's degree to get a job. The Internet, the Internet is so important. 39 million people in 2004, last time we had data, are working at home compared to maybe 6 or 7 million in the early '90s. That's because of the Internet.

Here's a guy with a master's degree. He might be able to teach at one of these online schools. And incidentally, getting education or getting any skill at these online places is a wonderful way of improving yourself. Absolutely.

VELSHI: Very good point. Christine, what you are hearing? What are you seeing online?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm hearing a lot of people talking about corporate America has broken faith of the American people. And the globalization and trade policies have made the labor market change or labor conditions change much faster than the American family has.

The American worker is not changing this quickly as the world is around us. Because of the Internet, because of technology and all these other things, it's a painful, painful disconnect that at some point will work out. But in the meantime, what we have is the mother of all job hunts for a lot of people.

VELSHI: Leigh, what do you think?

GALLAGHER: Well, there's a lot of talk here about manufacturing jobs. This is where a lot of people are feeling a lot of pain. I think it's important to remember that the U.S. is still the biggest manufacturer by far. And there are many manufacturing jobs that are going to continue.

But I think what's going to happen is that we're going to look at smarter -- there's a lot of talk earlier about advanced manufacturing. People making things that require a little bit more training, things like advanced -- artificial heart valves or surgical robots.

I mean there is a lot of manufacturing still going to happen. And there's opportunity there. But that's where retraining and some of the government benefits that are happening there might be a good thing (INAUDIBLE).

VELSHI: (INAUDIBLE), you spoke to a university -- a college that's graduating people and they've got jobs for them all in the 40,000 plus range.

ROSATO: Right. And Miami-Dade College in Florida has teamed up with Florida Power and Light for training people in energy jobs and they're graduating people with two-year degrees with starting salaries of $45,000 or more.

VELSHI: David?

DAVID GERGEN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Yes, the Miami-Dade Community College, one of the best community college systems in the country. They've been at this for a long time. What's coming through, Ali, in this Facebook conversation, there's a world of hurt out there. I mean people are much -- you know, in a much tougher situation.

And there's so many people here talking about how they have to dumb down their resumes. Because they seem overqualified for the jobs that are there and they're having to dumb down. That's one of the answers. That's a terrible answer in the long run.

But others are saying, you know, we have to get together, we have to network. Networking is an important part of being supportive of each other. My sense is this is a national conversation that could occur on the Internet. To go o back to Stephen's point about the Internet. These people really like talking to each other. They really like sharing...

VELSHI: Like the breakfast club.

GERGEN: Yes, it is.

VELSHI: We could have a nationwide breakfast club.

GERGEN: Yes. Start a CNN breakfast club.

VELSHI: Well, that's not a bad idea. We might be starting something right now. Ryan?

MACK: Well, a few comments. One question was, you know, is this the right time to purchase a home looking at the market? Well, the answer to that is you have to look at your own personal financial situation more so than the market itself. I mean your first home shouldn't be looked at necessarily as an investment.

Another comment was, you know, what's the best job -- I'm graduating from college, four-year college degree, what's the best job that I should get? Well, the answer to that is it all depends on your passion. You know? If you can give 110 percent at your job, you have a less likely to get employed.

VELSHI: That's right.

MACK: So that's -- you've got to find your passion.

VELSHI: All right. We're back with some new pulse results next. How far would be willing to move if you knew there was a job waiting for when our CNN Money Summit, "Money & Main Street" continues.


COOPER: Back now with the final answers to our Facebook Pulses. And to tell you the truth, this is why we remind you this pulse is not a scientific survey. The question is, how far would you be willing to move if you knew there was a job waiting for you.

The answers are a bit random. Across the country say 33 percent, overseas 44 percent, I would not move 12 percent, none say the closest state, none say they'd move to the closest town for a job so...


VELSHI: Maybe many didn't understand the question.

COOPER: Yes, exactly.

That's another CNN Money Summit on the books. The chat continues online, by the way, at

VELSHI: Thanks for taking part. Thanks to our iReporters and to all of you watching at home who've been communicating with our panel.

And from all of us here, hang in there. We'll see you on the next CNN Money Summit, "Money & Main Street."