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U.S. Economy Shows Signs of Turnaround; Interview With Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Aired December 4, 2009 - 14:00:00   ET


ADRIAN FINIGHAN, CNN INT'L. ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: A jobs shocker: The U.S. economy shows signs it is finally turning the corner.

Now hiring, Google turns its back on the recession. We speak to CEO Eric Schmidt.

And the wait is over FIFA tells the world who is playing who in the 2010 World Cup.

Hello, I'm Adrian Finighan, in for Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

A very good evening to you. The great U.S. recession may finally be over. According to the latest numbers the economy is growing again. Shedding far fewer jobs than just about anyone had expected. Tonight, on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS we ask, is the worst over?

But first, the news we all want to know, who is playing who in the first round of the World Cup in South Africa next year. CNN's Pedro Pinto is in Cape Town. He has been following the progress of draw. You may well have been watching the special that he anchored, which ended just a few moments ago.

I tell you, Pedro, you played a blinder mate, it was just an exciting hour, that show you did there. And I tell you, if the competition, itself, is as exciting as the draw. We are in for a great tournament.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT: You are absolutely right. I've got one word for you, Adrian, that is, "wow!" Because the excitement here, the electricity in the air, in Cape Town, as we have seen in other points around the world there, has been fantastic. We have been getting feedback from all over the planet, online, as well. And everyone has been giving their opinions on this draw, as we have the 32 teams divided into eight groups of four.

And now know what the opening match of the World Cup will be. We have South Africa versus Mexico, on the 5th of June. That will be in Johannesburg. Also, on the same day we have a match in the stadium right behind me, Green Point Stadium, here in Cape Town. It will be Uruguay versus France. Uruguay, two-time world champions, France lifted the trophy back in 1998.

Now, I know you are not English, you are Welsh, Adrian, and maybe you will be following England as a fan, but you have got the United States, Algeria, and Slovenia. A lot of people are thinking that is a pretty easy group.

Now, I don't know if we have a chance to through the whole eight groups, here. Maybe we can have a chance to do that, because this is still a developing story. It is still breaking news. Here we go, as we take a look at Group C, but Group A, we have South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay and France. In Group B we have Argentina, South Korea, Nigeria and Greece.

In Group C -- we've got you through the groups right now. We are going through them pretty quickly. We just saw Group C, England, United States, Algeria, and Slovenia.

In Group D, Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana. In Group E, the Netherlands, Japan, Cameroon, and Denmark. We have Italy, the current holders, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia, first-timers in Group F. In Group G, everybody is calling this the group of death, Adrian; Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, and Portugal. And finally, in Group H, Spain, Honduras, Switzerland, and Chile.

So, we have some great matches to look forward to.

FINIGHAN: I noticed the way you, as a Portuguese, skimmed over that there. That group of death, with -you are not too happy about that, are you? With Brazil, there?

PINTO: No. No, I'm not. And I think the Ivory Coast is the strongest African team out here as well. So, what is curious, Adrian, is that we have actually got three players on the Portuguese national team who were born in Brazil. They got citizenship, so maybe they can give us some inside information on what Brazil can do. But obviously we know they are great players. Starting, obviously, with the former world player, (inaudible), up front, Luis Fabiano, was their top scorer during the qualifying campaign. But so many players here. And it will be curious to see whether Hornel Dinuo (ph) is going to be part of the squad. He hasn't played for Manager Dunga for a while.

So much to talk about, Adrian, we are just getting started.

FINIGHAN: Absolutely. Pedro, our coverage continues over the next few hours here on CNN. And you are going to be anchoring it for us, right there, live in South Africa. Pedro Pinto, reporting live there from The Draw, there in South Africa.

Apologies, by the way, if you are seeing something completely different as we started our show tonight. I don't know what was causing that. But technical problems, apparently.

Now, to more mundane matters, I'm afraid I could talk football all night, but we have got to get away from it.

The U.S. jobless rate: At least it is fairly good news. It is on the way down. Falling back from a 26-year high. Now it is a startling sign of hope for more than 15 million Americans who are out of work currently. The U.S. jobless rate now stands at 10 percent. Employers cut just 11,000 jobs in November. That is the smallest number of monthly layoffs since the recession began. And it is far, far below what many analysts had forecast. Each of the previous three months has seen 135,000 people let go on average. And economists have been expecting, this time around, 125,000 jobs to vanish in November.

Let's get more on those surprising job numbers. Felicia Taylor joins us now live from the New York Stock Exchange.

And the markets are none-too happy, with what the rest of us consider to be quite good news, Felicia.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INT'L. FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well actually, Adrian, at the very open the bulls were sent running. I mean, we had triple digit gains, initially. Just that they weren't able to sustain it. Right now the Dow and the S&P are -well, the Dow is off, the S&P is just up fractionally, as is the Nasdaq.

The Dow, they both though, the Dow and the S&P touched new 14-month highs, then investors started to take some profits off the table. It is a Friday. They may not want to hold onto those positions as long, going into the weekend.

Also, we have seen a stronger dollar. And gold prices are loosing a little bit of their luster. That also brought stocks back from their session highs. Gold, by the way, is down more than $40.

But, you know, one stock that we are keeping an eye on is Unilever. That is also down today. And according to the FDA the company has recalled 10 million cans of the diet drink Slim-Fast. So, if that is something that you a buyer of, you might want to be a little bit more beware.

Let's go back to the job front. While no one welcomes job losses, the 11,000 jobs lost in November, is definitely positive news. It marks the smallest number of lost jobs in two years. And continues what has been a fairly stead decline in the number. President Obama kicked off his multi- city tour in Allentown, Pennsylvania today. And he focused on jobs and the economy. Let's hear what he had to say.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are going to be some months where the reports are a little better. Some months where the reports are worse, but the trend line right now is good. The direction is clear. When you think about how this year began, even before I was sworn in, and we were losing 700,000 jobs a month, a month. Today's report is a welcome sign that there are better days ahead.


TAYLOR: So that positive sentiment did play out initially, on Wall Street. Like I said, we had triple-digit gains at the outset. It is just that unfortunately, we weren't able to sustain it throughout the entire session, Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Felicia, although it is good news that the job losses are slowing and the markets have their own reasons for not really appreciating that, I suppose it means if the economy is improving interest rates are going to rise. That's what has impacted stocks today.

But it is job creation that is the key, isn't it, to a proper recovery?

TAYLOR: Keep in mind, though, when it comes to interest rates I highly doubt, that many people think it is going to happen any time soon. In terms of them creeping higher, but you are right, that did impact the stock market.

There are signs that employers may soon also be hiring again. And that could come as soon as the first quarter of next year. We saw a little bit of a hint of that in today's report. The average work week rose to more than 33 hours. And that could be a precursor for future hiring. Employers typically add hours for current workers before they actually hire new employee. In addition, 52,000 temp workers were hired and employers, again, typically add temp workers before hiring full-time employees, as well. So, like I said, we saw the unemployment rate dip to 10 percent, the conventional belief is that it will rise again, though, in 2010.

The numbers are still staggering when it comes to unemployment; 15 million Americans are without a job. They are going to have to compete against 10 million people who are under-employed. Those are people who work fewer hours than they'd like to, or they have actually even given up looking for work altogether, because the prospects seem and feel so dismal.

Economists say it could take literally years for the economy to generate enough kinds of jobs, for everyone, to significantly bring down the unemployment rate.

But I have to tell you that when it comes to the World Cup, I genuinely believe that the United States is going to make an upset.


FINIGHAN: You think so? Aha, we are not going to let you.

TAYLOR: Oh, yes.

FINIGHAN: Of course, England and the U.S.A. in the same group.


Felicia, great to talk to you. Many thanks, indeed. Have a great weekend.

Felicia Taylor, live at the New York Stock Exchange.

Let's get some more reaction now on those job numbers. From Tig Gilliam, the CEO of Adecco, North America, who joins us now live in New York.

Tig, before we get to dissecting these numbers then, and explaining their relevance there is something that has been bothering me all day today. How could some of the best economic minds in the country, when they were looking forward and estimating what we were likely to hear, from those jobs figures today, get it so wrong? I mean, we were expecting, what, 125,000, 130,000, in the end it was just 11,000?

TIG GILLIAM, CEO, ADECCO, N.A.: Well, Adrian, I'm not an economist, but I can tell you that the BLS data has an error rate of about, plus or minus about 100,000 jobs. So when we say we lost 11,000 jobs that is essentially no growth and no loss in terms of the reliability of the data. It is the best data we have.

And I think the other thing that happened in this survey is that we found in September and October there were revisions upwards. So there were 160,000 jobs that were initially reported as losses in September and October. And in the revisions they said that didn't really happen. So, there was an improvement to history that probably couldn't have been baked into some of those forecasts.

FINIGHAN: All right. So, let's take a closer look at this. Good news then, I suppose you have to look at it as good news, even though 11,000 more folks have lost their jobs in the past month, but this time yesterday, around President Obama's job summit, we were saying that job creation really is the key to a recovering economy, isn't it?

GILLIAM: Absolutely. And there are two factors in this job report that from my point of view are more important than the 11,000 losses, or the 10 percent unemployment. And that is the fact that the average workweek rose to 33.2 hours. This is what we need to see; that the existing workers are being fully utilized before we will see job growth.

The second trend is in temp employment. In October we had 33,000 temporary job additions in the U.S., and now 52,000 in November. And that is always a leading indicator to growth in the overall job market.

FINIGHAN: So, as far as you are concerned, at Adecco, have we now turned a corner? I mean, is there room for the numbers to get worse again next month, or the month after?

GILLIAM: I think from a report point of view there is always the opportunity that the numbers will go down more, one month over another. It is the overall trend that matters and I think the trend is moving in the right direction.

In terms of Adecco and Ajilon's business in the U.S., since late summer, in most skilled categories, we have begun to see week-over-week increases in employment. And now that has made its way to the overall BLS data. And I think we are moving in the right direction, but it is going to take quite some time before we see the 200,000 and the 300,000 jobs additions that we would like to see every month.

FINIGHAN: Tig, we really appreciate your expert analysis. Many thanks, indeed, for being with us.

Tig Gilliam, the CEO of Adecco, in North America.

Now, the numbers out of the U.S. put investors, as Felicia was saying, firmly in the mood to buy, at first. And all of Europe's markets put in a positive finish for Friday. Here in London shares in British Airways surged 2.8 percent. Pharmaceutical stocks also performed pretty well. But mining stocks slipped back in limited gains for the FTSE 100.

Over in Frankfurt, shares in Lufthansa added plenty of value today. In Paris there was a broad rally with shares in EADS and Renault among the top gainers. That staffer firm, Adecco soared more than 7 percent in Zurich, as investors bet on a better global labor market.

Much more analysis to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Now we have just had the big decider and no one has even kicked a ball yet. The World Cup draw is in and we'll hear what fans are making of it, when we come back. Don't go away.


FINIGHAN: Now amidst all the fuss over the World Cup draw and those U.S. jobs figures, it is perhaps easy to forget that there are a lot of other things happening in the world right now. Let's get you up to date with the news headlines. Max Foster joins us live from the London newsroom.


The Pakistani city of Rawalpindi has come under attack once again. Four militants armed with guns and grenades stormed a mosque, killing 36 people and wounding 75. And the military says many of the dead are children. An army general and eight other military officials were also killed. The mosque is located near the headquarters of the Pakistani army.

The secretary general of NATO says nations are backing up their words with deeds. Two dozen countries in the alliance will send around 7,000 fresh troops to Afghanistan next year. The U.S. secretary of State says the reinforcements are critical to gaining the upper hand in the battlefield.

Authorities have been raiding compounds in the southern Philippine province belonging to a powerful clan suspected in last week's election related massacre. Marshal law has also been declared in the province. Troops and police found firearms, ammunition and even a buried arsenal. Fifty-seven people were killed last week. Their bodies were dumped in a mass grave. The son of the provincial governor and several other suspects have been charged in the killings.

Film director Roman Polanski is now serving house arrest after he posted bail and was released from a Swiss jail. He is now in his chalet in the Alpine resort of Gstaad. Polanski is fighting extradition to the U.S. where he faces a charge for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He was arrested in Switzerland in September.

Those are the headlines, Adrian. I'll have more on "WORLD ONE" that is at 8:30 London time. For now, though, it is back to you.

FINIGHAN: All right, Max. Many thanks indeed.

Now the stage is set for the greatest football contest in the world, the draw is in for the 2010 World Cup; 32 teams playing 64 games in nine cities in South Africa, and this is what they are playing for, the World Cup, and a place in history. There it is. That very trophy was here in London a few years ago. Right here where I could touch it. It is amazing to be so close to it.

Now, also in London, many fans have been watching the progress of the draw on a big screen and CNN's Alex Thomas is with the fans. He joins us now live from London's Trafalgar Square.

Of course London, Alex, a melting pot of races and nationalities. People there, I should imagine, having all sorts of allegiances. But for the English, at least, we are pretty pleased with that draw, aren't we?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Adrian, don't let this miserable scene, that you are looking at right now fool you, because for a brief but glorious hour and a half or so, we got just a little taste of World Cup excitement, seven months before the tournament kicks off in South Africa next June.

I can tell you this famous London landmark was packed with what I estimate to be probably a few thousand football fans. As you say, from around the world, because the capital of the U.K., obviously attracts nationalities from all over the planet. So, you have this wonderful moment where different names were called out as the draw was made, and televised here on a big screen, and there were various little factions cheering at their team, getting another team drawn against them.

Or just the mere fact that their country was mentioned at all, Adrian, it got everyone very excited. Obviously, more England fans here than other nationalities. I think they were quietly pleased when England was drawn against the United States, Algeria, and Slovenia. They hope that is a fairly easy start for them. It could be the commentator's curse, of course, but a relatively easy start for them, if they are to improve on their past performances.

FINIGHAN: And for you, Alex, as our sports correspondent, take a dispassionate view for a moment, your own allegiances out of it, but for you, what was the highlight of the draw? What are the highlights?

THOMAS: Well, it is just great to see people -it looked like you were sort of in one big living room. Thousands of people all staring at essentially a television screen, watching a program, essentially boring; a load of people on a stage in another country, pulling names out of bowls, out of balls, it shouldn't have been very interesting, but the whole fact is that it boils down to patriotism, to passion for your country. It is what the football World Cup is all about. It also will be a huge boost to the British economy next June. England missed out on Euro 2008 and this time, with England in the World Cup bars will be packed here in the next European summer. And it will boost the economy by millions of pounds.

FINIGHAN: All right, Alex. Many thanks, indeed. We'll let you seek some shelter and some warmth. Many thanks, indeed. Alex Thomas live in a very chilly Trafalgar Square here in London.

I don't know what the atmosphere was like where you are, but it was electric here in the newsroom. Fantastic, we can't wait for the World Cup. Of course, it is not only the match draw that has been revealed today. One of the key sponsors, Adidas, unveiled the official match ball, earlier today. I spoke to the firm's CEO, Herbert Hainer, who is in Cape Town. I began by asking him to tell me all about what makes this particular ball so special.


HERBERT HAINER, ADIDAS, WORLD CUP SPONSOR: It is a ball which we just officially launched today, it a complete new ball. Technological revolution, it is the most accurate ball which we have ever made. And the ball also looks fantastic. It incorporates the feel of the South African nation, with the design, 11 colors which represents 11 different languages here in the country, 11 communities. And last, but not least, 11players on the field.

FINIGHAN: Adidas, of course, one of the long-term partners of FIFA. You have been involved with the World Cup for what, 40 years now. Why is the tournament so important to your company?

HAINER: Football is the heart and soul of our company and we are clearly number one on the football worldwide and the football World Cup is by far the biggest football event in the world. And therefore it is an ideal showcase for us, when the best meets the bests, to represent our product and show the world what kind of innovative products and concepts we can bring to life.

FINIGHAN: As I have said, you have had a long partnership with FIFA. You have been supplying the official match ball, for what, 40 years now. It must be worth your while, the money that you have to invest in sponsorship, you must recoup that?

HAINER: We are quite happy with our partnership with the FIFA. And as I said, it is a long-term partnership. We definitely want to continue this partnership for the years to come. Because FIFA is all about football and our company has grown with football. And football is our key and number one category. So, therefore, this is a perfect fit.

FINIGHAN: And how important is sponsorship overall in increasing sales for Adidas. You suffered that record third quarter decline in sales this year. Is sponsorship of the World Cup going to help reverse that decline?

HAINER: I mean, when you are here in South Africa, and we are just a few hours ahead of the final draw, you can feel already the vibration about the World Cup. And this will help us for 2010. So, I am cautiously optimistic for 2010, for our company in terms of revenues and profits. And I definitely do believe that in 2010 we will see record sales for football within the Adidas Group.

FINIGHAN: So, as far as sponsorship of sporting events is concerned, as a sportswear and a sports equipment manufacturer, do you think it is a no-brainer. You have got to be involved in this kind of sponsorship. You have got to make this sort of investment in this kind of event to reap the rewards?

HAINER: Of course, this kind of events draw a huge crowd and a huge attention to people around the world. And we just had the official press conference for the launch of the ball and I think we had around 75 TV stations, and 150 journalists there. So, the picture of the new ball is going around the whole world already. Therefore, yes, you have to invest in big events like that, but we definitely get our benefit back.


FINIGHAN: There, speaking from the warmth, the summer warmth of Cape Town. I'm not envious. Not a bit.

And a bitter take over for a bid for U.K.'s Cadbury's leaving a bad taste in some investors' mouths. After the break we are going to examine the latest salvo coming form the U.S. as Kraft takes its case straight to the shareholders.


FINIGHAN: Now, U.S. food giant, Kraft, or Kraft as they say over there, is upping the ante in its bid to take over the U.K.'s Cadbury. Kraft is taking its multi-billion dollar hostile takeover directly to the chocolate maker's shareholders, hoping they will find the deal a little sweeter than management. And the clock has already begun ticking for Cadbury to accept.

CNN's Maggie Lake joins us now with more on this trans-Atlantic back and forth.

Hey, Maggie.


You know Cadbury's made it perfectly clear, they are not interested. But Kraft is not taking no for an answer. They are taking out full-page ads in global newspapers. I've got "The Wall Street Journal" here and it is there in all of its tedious fine print. I know you have it over there, as well.

This is pretty much the same offer they have had from the very beginning when they first sort of put this on the table. You will remember, back on February 7th. The value pretty much the same. They resisted any suggestion about increasing it to the relief of Kraft shareholders.

Now, Cadbury's shareholders, it is in their hands. They have until January 5th to accept, as long as no other bidder shows up. As I said, Kraft shareholders anxious that they didn't over pay for it. But we'll see if Cadbury shareholders think this falls short. Certainly, management does.

And, you know, Adrian, I'm very curious, over here this is very much playing out as a business news story, a deal like any other deal. But I definitely get the sense there, it is a little bit more personal. I mean, these are brands that you guys grew up with, right?

FINIGHAN: Mmm, absolutely, Maggie. Sorry - any excuse to eat chocolate.

I mean, look, the Americans, it is a personal affront as far as the Brits are concerned. The Americans - you Americans don't know how to make chocolate. For heaven's sake you come over here to buy the stuff. There is no way you can make -

LAKE: Well, Adrian, I -

FINIGHAN: Yes, go ahead, go on. Huh?

LAKE: I have a little bit of bad news for you there. We talked about other bidders? One of the other ones that everyone is talking about is Hershey's. What do you mean, we don't know how to make chocolate?

FINIGHAN: Ah, it doesn't taste -


LAKE: This is what Cadbury management is hoping for, that Hershey or someone else, come in with another bid.

FINIGHAN: It doesn't taste the same. Cadbury's a unique taste that just isn't replicated in any other chocolate. I mean, even Swiss chocolate, it is just not - it just doesn't taste right.

LAKE: I have lived over there, in London, and I have had Cadbury. I'm afraid I'm not going to join you on that. But I do understand that it is a sort of national issue. And I think that is what is sort of bolstering Cadbury management. And we will see, perhaps, as shareholders do really hold out for what they consider the best possible deal they can get -if any deal, if they agree to go along with anyone.

As I said, reports are that Hershey is interested in making a bid. There is some speculation that the trust, which is pretty conservative, that controls that company, does want to make an offer. Also, talk that Italian Ferraro might join up with them in some kind of bid, but so far, Adrian, this is just talk. There is no other offer on the table, which is why Kraft is continuing with the offer that they know Cadbury isn't thrilled with, and they are going right to the shareholders.

So, we will see. The clock is ticking, as you say, we have a timeline in the horizon.

FINIGHAN: Absolutely. Maggie, many thanks. Now you come to mention it, there are some other -there are some pretty -oh, I could talk chocolate all day. Just like the World Cup.

LAKE: Yes.

FINIGHAN: Maggie, many thanks. Have a great weekend. We will see you next week. Live in New York.

Now, the latest jobs data will be, of course, good news for many. But one firm is already powering ahead with plans for its recovery. We talk to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, about his plans to create thousands of jobs.



TASSE BEAR: I know it's really tough out there right now. I know a lot of people who are having a really hard time finding what they went to school for, just trying to find anything out there. So I was really fortunate to be able to network and to find something somewhere.


FINIGHAN: Clearly, the jobs market is still grim for some. We find out if the holiday season is giving them anything to cheer.

We'll be right back.


FINIGHAN: Welcome back.

Live from London, this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS from CNN.

In for Richard Quest, I'm Adrian Finighan.

Let's show you what's happening on Wall Street right now. The rally that we saw first thing today losing steam. The Dow Jones down 11 points right now. Stocks were surging earlier in the day after those better than expected job numbers. The Dow hit a new 14-month high after unemployment dropped to 10 percent. Eleven -- employers cutting 11,000 jobs in November. That was far fewer than expected.

But, of course, then reality set in. If the economy is improving, the Fed is unlikely to keep interest rates low much past -- well, most reckon, June. And, of course, higher interest rates bad news for profits, which is why the Dow Jones is down right now.

The dollar, on the other hand, is -- is doing pretty well. It's -- it's -- well, it's come up by about 1 percent, the dollar index today. So while the dollar doing pretty well after being in the doldrums for quite a while.

Now, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt was one of the business leaders who was attending President Obama's jobs forum at the White House yesterday that we were reporting on. But he already had some ideas of his own on how to create jobs and secure the firm's recovery.

He spoke with Poppy Harlow from and explained what Google is planning on the jobs front.


ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO, GOOGLE: We're still hiring. And we're hiring pretty aggressively. We're going to hire some number of thousands of people over the next year. And our business, as you saw from our quarterly result, has really rebounded. And we saw a recovery pretty much everywhere.

So from our perspective, the recession has largely ended and we're now in whatever kind of recovery we're going to have.

POPPY HARLOW, ANCHOR, CNNMONEY.COM: That's probably the most optimistic statement from a Fortune 500 CEO I have heard throughout this crisis.

Is Google standalone in this position, meaning are you benefiting from the technology of your industry, where we see others suffering greatly still?

SCHMIDT: Well, we may see it earlier than others because of -- because our business is very real time and other people have infrastructure problems, maybe they have back lend -- bank lending problems that we don't have.

But overall, if you look, inventories have gotten better -- that is, they're not so high. Lending is clearly happening with everybody except for small businesses. There's lots of reasons to think that the economic engine of the United States is in recovery and we also know that similar phenomenon are true in even the worst hit European countries.

HARLOW: You know, and the president talked about the fact today -- he said, listen, we have to be surgical and creative in our approach here to creating these jobs. We have to get the most bang for the buck. Those were his exact words.

Eric, what would your number one suggestion be to President Obama and his administration right now in terms of the job creation front?

SCHMIDT: Well, there's no question that the number one priority is to get banks lending to small businesses, because small businesses create the majority of jobs in the United States.

HARLOW: Right.

SCHMIDT: And the reason the banks are not lending to small businesses is because they're being prevented to by regulations. After the credit crunch occurred, the small business loans -- and this was discussed extensively today and this afternoon -- are harder for them to make because they look risky. And, in fact, they're not statistically so. But if you actually score them, they look too bad and the regulators won't let them.

So there's every reason to believe that the government in -- with a relatively small number of changes, can encourage this and help solve that logjam.

HARLOW: But...

SCHMIDT: That's the number one issue.


FINIGHAN: Google CEO Eric Schmidt there speaking with's Poppy Harlow.

With millions of Americans still out of work, many are counting on temporary jobs to get them through the Christmas season. But job seekers are finding that getting hired for the holidays is a lot harder than they thought.

We'll have more in just a moment.


FINIGHAN: Now, despite today's encouraging jobs data, it is still pretty tough to find a job, even a temporary retail-related position or holiday job, as they -- they're known. During this downturn, stores have adjusted by cutting costs and inventories. And that's made many of them lean, mean and profitable again.

But as Maggie reports, they remain reluctant employers.


MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hearing that cash register ring would be music to the ears of many job seekers hoping to find seasonal employment this holiday season.

EARLEEN HENDERSON, SEASONAL JOB SEEKER: Maybe like cashier, maybe a department store being this coming time for the holidays, maybe they'll need some help.

LAKE: During tough times, many unemployed Americans count on seasonal work to make ends meet. But this recession, retailers have cut holiday hiring, as consumers cut spending.

Alison Goodman, whose recruitment firm places seasonal workers, is finding many people jobs, but it's tough out there.

ALLYSON GOODMAN, PYRAMID CONSULTING GROUP: We work with a lot of luxury boutiques in New York and most of them haven't even put on seasonal. They put on one or two people because they're using their existing staff.

LAKE: If holiday sales were stronger this year, stores would surely add more staff. But results so far have been less than stellar. Stores are waiting longer to commit to seasonal workers, which means fewer hours for part-timers overall.

GOODMAN: A lot of our staffing just happened within the past couple of weeks. We usually have plans for our retail stores in September and October. We didn't have them until November this year.


LAKE: Tasse Bear (ph) is one of the lucky ones.

BEAR: This is definitely a really important job for me to have right now.

LAKE: She was hired in mid-November by clothing retailer, Brooklyn Industries. She's only working four days a week. She's guaranteed a job only through mid-January. But she's thankful for the extra cash.

BEAR: I know it's really tough out there right now. I know a lot of people who are having a really hard time finding what they went to school for, just trying to find anything out there. So I was really fortunate to be able to network and find something somewhere.

LAKE: But for seasonal worker Alfredo Mineo (ph), retail work is a necessity and a mixed blessing.

ALFREDO MINEO: Like right now, I'm doing retail, but my background is all in public relations. I work at a luxury boutique on Madison Avenue and I think we get like three or four applications a day. And you read the resumes, they're just -- it has nothing to do with retail.

LAKE: In the midst of the gloom, there is optimism. According to the government, overall temp hiring is making a come back. Almost 34,000 temporary jobs were added in the U.S. in October. As for this holiday, no one's writing it off just yet.

GOODMAN: It's still kind of fresh into it, right after Thanksgiving. So we think that our stores might pick up a little bit more as it gets closer to the holidays.

LAKE: That would be great news for many people hoping to get hired for the holidays.

Maggie Lake, CNN, New York.


FINIGHAN: I just want to give you a heads-up on a -- on a story that's -- that's just coming into us here at -- at CNN. We're getting reports saying that two passenger ferries have collided on the Nile River in Northern Egypt. That's according to various media reports. Dozens of people are being reported missing. And is -- is saying that three bodies have been recovered. The search on for survivors right now. We're -- we're checking the facts on that story. We'll keep you up to date with it and we'll bring you any news as soon as we get hold of details of further developments.

Right now, though, let's get a weather forecast for your part of the world.

Guillermo Arduino is at the CNN World Weather Center -- hey, you.

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Actually, I was looking at the satellite picture and radar in Egypt and there is a system there going through. I was looking at winds. I don't see anything that actually gets my attention on the radar or the satellite, but I will continue to look into that story.

In the meantime, we'll get more rain for this weekend in Great Britain. Look at this low that is coming here. It's going to bring the winds and the rain all over. I was checking Heathrow, Gatwick, rain right now; Manchester, also rain. We see rain showers on the weekend. Temperatures going down again. It's going to be chilly in the morning and evening if the sun is not out. It's going to be chilly. And the winds will prevail. Dublin, the same thing.

And the other story that I was try -- telling you about, especially as we go to the south here with a new low that is going to bring uncivil weather conditions into the southeastern parts of Europe -- Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Guillermo, many thanks.

Richard is back on Monday, you'll be glad to hear.


In London, I'm Adrian Finighan.


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