Job market dismal ahead of Obama speech, debates

Sept. 7, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Many wonder what it will take to jump-start hiring in America. Some are hoping the president talks about what government can do to create more jobs. Others say he should focus on ways to restore confidence in the business community.

Chicago-based Seaton Corp occupies space in an old warehouse along the Chicago River on the city's North Side. The recruiting firm is proud of the fact that, with today's high unemployment rate, it is adding 400 new jobs -- so proud, it invited the mayor.

"Nationally, we have had 11,000 jobs added to our payroll over the last three years with pretty significant head winds that were in our face from an economy perspective," said Patrick Beharelle, SeatonCorp CEO.

Salaries for the new Seaton jobs range from $22,000-$60,000 a year.

In downtown Chicago, 450 full and part-time workers are needed for the opening of a new Mariano's fresh market.

While these Illinois jobs are good news, they are a drop in the bucket compared to how many people remain unemployed.

AFL-CIO Illinois President Michael Carrigan is going to the nation's capitol to listen to the president give his big speech on jobs. Carrigan hopes Obama talks about infrastructure.

"We've got many, many problems with roads and bridges. Lots of our dam system needs improved. Those are the type of things that this country needs and it creates good jobs that puts people back to work," said Carrigan.

Investing in infrastructure, schools and airports are all things Mayor Rahm Emanuel says are necessary to keep companies like Seaton in Chicago.

"It's not the jobs of the government to create jobs, it is the jobs of those in government to make the right investments that pay off for private sector to create jobs," said Emanuel.

But Mesirow Financial deputy chief economist Adolfo Laurenti says it will be a mistake for the president to talk about infrastructure.

"I hope the president will talk about revamping the economy, because economic growth generates jobs much better than government intervention trying to create green jobs and construction work," he said.

Laurenti says while corporations are making profits and sitting on a lot of cash, they are not hiring because they are concerned about the cost of regulations and health care.

On the other hand, Seaton CEO Beharelle says many companies are hiring, but they can't find the workers with the right skills in today's market.

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