The Young and the Jobless

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you want to be young forever? Well, you may want to rethink that answer.

It is lousy to be young if you want to have a job. The youth unemployment rate for Americans between 16 and 24 years old is a whopping 18 percent. It is much, much worse than the total unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.

Joining us live is Steve Moore, senior economic writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page. And it is a lot worse than it was a year ago.

STEVE MOORE, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": It is. We should call this "the young and the jobless."

I have two teenage boys, so I can relate to this story. One out of every four teenager who's looking for a job is out of work.

VAN SUSTEREN: Looking for a job. It is not the ones who don't want a job, it is...

MOORE: No. In fact, we have a record low number of teenagers that are actually working today, and since the 1930s, the Great Depression, we have the lowest level since then. Only half of teenagers are working, which is a bad thing. I'm a big believer that when teams get a job, whether it's as a cashier or raking leaves or whatever, just getting out and working it can have a very productive thing for America.

And actually be evidence is very clear that when teams work when they are young, they have higher earnings potential when they're older. They actually gain skills.

Now, one of the reasons I think that we're seeing such a big surge in the last couple of months in the unemployment rate for teens, and I think it's because Congress raised the minimum wage to $7.15 an hour. And I can speak of my own two kids, I don't think they are worth $7.15 an hour.


VAN SUSTEREN: They're never going to get a job now if anybody is watching.


MOORE: We should have a four dollar or five dollar an hour and minimum wage so that we can create jobs for young people.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you think it's minimum wage, is not affected the economy has gone south. Small businesses seem to hire younger people more than...

MOORE: Of course, but the teen unemployment rate has gone up a lot faster than the unemployment rate for adults in the last couple of months.

And, look, I'm an enemy of the minimum wage, especially as it applies to young people, because what you're doing, Greta, as you are cutting off the starter jobs.

Do you remember the first job you ever had?

VAN SUSTEREN: I worked in a bakery and put pennies in a paper thing at the bank in the office so they could take money to the bank.

MOORE: That teaches you that you shall upon time...

VAN SUSTEREN: I hated it.


MOORE: My first job was working at a factory, and I could remember thinking -- I was a senior in high school, and I was thinking I don't want to do this the rest of my life. And that motivated me to go to college and get good grades and do things on Fox News now.

So I think it's a real tragedy that you have so many young people out of work, but we're going to see new unemployment rate numbers coming out on Friday.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is the expectation?

MOORE: There is some good news. Unemployment claims are down.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's good news.

MOORE: So remember we talked the last time the employment rate numbers came out and it went up to 9.7 percent, there were a lot of economists were saying that we are going to surpass 10 percent, which would be a disaster, but...

VAN SUSTEREN: But some states there are over 10 percent -- Michigan, Nevada -- Michigan is about 15 percent, and Nevada is up there.

MOORE: There are 14 states now that have more than one out of 10 Americans who are looking for work.

VAN SUSTEREN: So I guess when the numbers come out on Friday, we should not just look at the national number but we should look at the individual states, too.

MOORE: You mentioned the ones -- Nevada, California. Florida has a high unemployment rate. A lot of the states who had overbuilding in housing are now seeing the most on unemployment.


MOORE: Let's talk about something positive. Did you see what happened to the stock market today? It went way up. The stock market is having an incredible bull market rally, so we're starting to see some improvement.


MOORE: I don't know. I can explain this. This is the biggest conundrum. We have a falling dollar, we have a rising budget deficit, and yet the stock market has just been going crazy over the last three months.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it going to implode?

MOORE: I'm kind of thinking that we might see a double dip, because I just think stocks values are so high right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Here's the thing -- people use the stock market as some sort of measure as to how the economy is doing, and that's really good to see it go up, but you have money if you're in the stock market.

If you are hovering around the minimum wage level and you are looking for a job, it does not bring any kind of sense of solace that this is a good situation.

MOORE: As I said many times on this show, a recovery is when you get the jobs back for the vast majority of Americans. And we have been, we've been continuing...

VAN SUSTEREN: Why it is the market having a rally and we're not getting jobs?

MOORE: There are two reasons -- profits are up, and jobs are usually that last thing to come back.

And the other thing is the credit crisis is over.

VAN SUSTEREN: But the banks aren't lending money.

MOORE: Yes, but they are able to circulate money -- the idea that we were going to be able to...

VAN SUSTEREN: They are not lending.

MOORE: You are right, but the worry that we were going to see major, major bank failures one after the other, a domino effect, that's gone for now. So that is good news.

VAN SUSTEREN: So how does that help someone who is unemployed who is looking for a job? I read over the weekend a woman who has been unemployed for a number of months and she finally scraped together enough money to go to this job interview and Milwaukee.

And she drove down to the job interview and Milwaukee spending $10 on gas. And she got down, and people didn't show up for the job interview, and she wasted 10 bucks on a guess. So it's hard for me to say oh that's great news that the stock market is rallying and everybody that has money in the market...

MOORE: The answer to your question is when small businesses start to thrive again, and this has been my complaint about the stimulus bill, we have been doing nothing to help small businesses , and 70 percent of all new jobs come from the small businessman, the baker, the broker.



But is nothing being done for the small businessman in the stimulus?

MOORE: No. There was virtually nothing. It was all for big banks, the big auto companies, big insurance companies, and then a lot of government jobs. But there was nothing. There is more money in the stimulus for National Endowment for the Arts than for small business tax cuts.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is going to happen? We are going to run out of stimulus money at some point.

MOORE: They have not spent a lot of it. I actually think they should stop spending the stimulus money. And probably don't even need it.

VAN SUSTEREN: But if jobs are created typically by small businesses...


VAN SUSTEREN: And we are not doing anything to help small businesses, that's a serious...

MOORE: I would think so. I wish Washington understood.

By the way, the worst thing to do right now is to raise taxes on small businesses as they do in the health- care bill, as they do if we repeal the Bush tax cuts. That is going to hurt small businesses and their ability to hire new workers.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is the White House happy with how it's going?

MOORE: We talked last week when Joe Biden said that it is working better than his wildest dream.

I think they're nervous, I think Americans still should be nervous about this economy. I don't think we're out of the woods. Anytime you're borrowing $2 trillion...

VAN SUSTEREN: Until we get the employment rate down, I do not care how well the stock market is doing, we are not out of this.

MOORE: I agree. And 25 percent unemployment for teens. Sorry, Justin. We are going to get a job for you guys.


VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think these two boys will ever get work after the recommendation you gave them that they are not worth minimum wage, ouch. Steve, thank you.

MOORE: Thank you, Greta.

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