This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 4, 2002. Click here to order Friday's entire transcript.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The Labor Department out with its latest jobs report today. While the unemployment rate rose to 5.8 percent in December, the pace of layoffs has actually slowed down a bit. My next guest keeps a very close eye on the jobs market. She says that this recession is much different than the last one around, and that things are not so bad.
Joining me now from Los Angeles is labor expert Smooch Reynolds. Smooch, I got to ask you first about that name. That's the real name, right?
SMOOCH REYNOLDS, REPOVICH-REYNOLDS CEO: That's my real name. It's actually a family name.
CAVUTO: Really? OK. And it's on the license and the whole nine yards.
REYNOLDS: It's on the license, the whole nine yards, Neil. Suffice it to say that my father had a good sense of humor.
CAVUTO: I like it, I like it very much.
All right, now onto something you like right now, the economy does not appear to be as bad as others make it out to be. Explain what you mean.
REYNOLDS: Well, I think this recession is radically different than the one our country went through about a decade ago. I think there are differences that need to be acknowledged by the marketplace, one of which is the fact that certainly the financial markets have been very poor this past year, but if you layer on top of that the terrorist activity, people need to understand that there are industries that are crumbling, or near crumbling, that are going to have to be reconfigured and redesigned in some way for the future.
CAVUTO: You know, obviously every day we hear this company lays off 1,200 workers, another 1,500 workers, you know, they keep these job-o-meter counts in some of the local tabloids. Overkill?
REYNOLDS: Well, think that everyone needs to hear the statistics and the figures, and then they need to understand how to tailor that to their own lives. I think one of the things that happens when we have significant layoffs like we do right now, is that individuals seem to get lost in the shuffle of it all, and they forget about creating a strategy for themselves to move forward in this type of marketplace.
CAVUTO: What do you see as most promising right now?
REYNOLDS: Most promising I think is going to be for those who are unemployed if they can put together a strategy for their career navigation purposes, and focus on how companies are going to reconfigure themselves for the future. I truly believe that there are industries that are going to have to redefine their business models, and they're going to have to reconstruct their employment forces for the future, so that they can weather recessions better. And if people can...
CAVUTO: Not to interrupt that point, but I am curious of one thing. I know you are not a stock picker and all of that, but if I had to bet on industries that looked strong or promising in 2002, what would they be? In other words, where the job cuts will stop and maybe the job hirings will begin?
REYNOLDS: I think the technology sector will be a reasonably solid bet. I think that the telecom industry, even though it's fairly gruesome and dismal right now, I think that that's also going to be a strong industry. I think health care is as well.
CAVUTO: Any ones that you would avoid, or in other words, that do not look promising, where layoffs could be still more likely, even after the ones we have seen?
REYNOLDS: I think the obvious, Neil, the travel and tourism industry, hotels, airlines -- I think those industries are truly going to remain at a low level for a long time, unfortunately, and I think those CEOs of those corporation and those industries are going to have to truly determine what their futures might be like.
CAVUTO: You know, I know it's a mug's game, we are looking at a nearly 6 percent unemployment rate right now, how high do you think it goes before it starts going down again?
REYNOLDS: I think it could go up to 7, 7.5 percent. If you look historically, a decade ago it was much higher than it is right now, and if you look two decades ago, to the early `80s, when we had just kind of a general malaise in business, it was up to nearly 10 percent, which I'm not sure a lot of people have taken their time to look back that far, and I think that's important historical information that the annual average for 2001 is 4.8. We are a long ways away from as dire as it has been actually in the past.
CAVUTO: All right, Ms. Reynolds, thank you very much, and I love that name by the way. Smooch Reynolds, thank you very much.
REYNOLDS: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Appreciate it.
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