tv PBS News Hour PBS April 1, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the nation's unemployment rate dropped to a two-year low as the economy gained more than 200,000 new jobs last month. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the newshour tonight, we break down the latest numbers and examine what they mean for the still fragile recovery. >> woodruff: then, we turn to libya, where government forces bombarded the rebel-held city of misrata. >> suarez: and margaret warner talks with two of "the new york times'" reporters kidnapped colonel qaddafi's forces. >> every check point we went through people would come over and sort of smack us around. and in fact they would punch
one of us or scream things at us like, you dogs. and it was really medieval. >> woodruff: plus, paul solman reports on the plight of unemployed veterans, and an organization trying to give them a leg up. >> for iraq and afghanistan veterans, so celebrated in uniform, another battle once they put on civies. finding a job. >> suarez: and mark shields and michael gerson, filling in for david brooks, analyze the week's news. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think... >> we need renewable energy. >> ...renewable energy is vital to our planet. >> you hear about alternatives, right? wind, solar, algae. >> i think it's got to work on a big scale. and i think it's got to be affordable. >> so, where are they? >> it has to work in the real world. at chevron, we're investing millions in solar and biofuel technology to make it work.
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foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> suarez: the unemployment numbers released today were better than expected, and the obama administration hailed the good news as a sign of a stronger economy. the nation saw its second consecutive month of steady growth on the jobs front, news the president praised, while still remaining cautious. >> the unemployment rate has now fallen a full point in the last four months. and the last time that happened was during the recovery in 1984, where we saw such a significant drop in the unemployment rate. now, despite that good news, everybody here knows we've got a lot more work to do.
there are still millions of americans out there that are looking for a job that pays the bills. >> suarez: the labor department announced the economy added 216,000 new jobs in march. there were 14,000 fewer government jobs, but that number was balanced out by private employers, who added 230,000 jobs. as a result, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in two years, 8.8%. testifying before the joint economic committee of the house and senate this morning, bureau of labor statistics commissioner keith hall called the news "promising." >> for more than two months, we've had pretty steady job growth. it's been around 135,000, 140,000 a month. in the last two months, it looks like we may be getting an acceleration in job growth, which would be a good sign. >> suarez: but republican leaders jumped in, voicing concerns that the strong report won't sustain continued job growth. >> today's job report is welcome
news, but washington needs to do a lot more to end the uncertainty and get our economy moving again. it's clear that we need to cut spending. we need to stop unnecessary regulations, end the threat of tax hikes, and pass the trade bills that are out there. these are the pillars of a republican plan that will actually create jobs in america. >> suarez: the long-term unemployed continue to struggle, with more than six million people out of work for six months or longer, and some could be facing an end to their unemployment benefits soon. in recent weeks, michigan, florida, and arkansas have taken steps to cut their duration of assistance to the out-of work. and missouri, a state with a jobless rate over 9%, has decided to stop accepting federal money dedicated to extending payments. benefit eligibility for thousands there will end tomorrow. the labor picture certainly
seemed brighter in march, but there are still a number of questions that many economists are asking. we explore this with joel naroff, the president of naroff economic advisers. he joins us from philadelphia. and catherine mann, a professor of economics and finance at brandeis international business school. she's in boston. professor, when you look at the numbers overall, what are they telling you for this month? >> well, i think what we're seeing is a virtuous cycle developing in the services sector. now of course that's the most important part of the economy. it's the part of the job creation engine that really has been lagging for quite a few months now. manufacturing has been solid and that's excellent and good. but until we get a virtuous cycle developinging in services, particularly the upper income services like business professional and technical,we're not going to have a self-sustaining recovery. and we are seeing job growth there. i think as companies start getting contracts, they start hiring workers to
fulfill those contracts, i think we're starting to see that virtuous cycle develop. >> suarez: joel naroff we're often told when we do this segment once a month, don't look at just one month. okay, take a look at the last couple of months and this latest set of numbers, what do you see? >> well, that's where the really good news is. if you take a look at the last two months, you're seeing that the private sector has really begun to shift gears. they've been very, very cautious about hiring businesses has been very uncertain about where this economy is going. whether this recovery would really pick up steam. but now we're seeing a couple hundred thousand or more jobs created a month in the private sector. and they're very broad-based. we're seeing 60 to 65% of the industry showing job gains. that tells me that this isn't just a one-off situation. it tells me that the extended growth that we have seen over the last 20 months has now reached the point where businesses have to start hiring. and that's the best part
about it. it is broad-based, it's stronger and the last few months are really a sign that we could be shifting gears in this economy. >> suarez: professor mann, does this last month also say something, perhaps, about durability? because the march numbers come in the wake of european debt crisis, eruptions across north africa and the middle east. spikes in the price of oil. and yet people were still hiring. >> well, i think it's a little bit too early to say that we haven't been hit by any of these issues from the global economy. i think it's a little earlier-- early to say the oil price hikeses that we're currently experiencing won't damage this job creation. in part because 45 or basically a quarter of the job creation is coming in retail foodservices, food away from home, that sort of thing. leisure and hospitality. where the consumer spending that we've seen coming from the tax reductions and so forth, those have really powered those consumer-based
job creation. now with the oil price hike and the gas hike, what you're seeing is more and more of the benefits of consumer spending goinging to the oil companieses. and to gasoline. and so that has the potential for damaging this economic recovery. and i think it is way too early to consider what might be the consequences for global trade and so forth of the disruption-- disruption to the supply chains emanating from the terrific tragedieses in japan. >> suarez: joel naroff, it lookses from the numbers like we're really dealing with a two-tier pool of unemployed people. the long-term jobless and every one else. talk a little bit about that number. because it still remains troublingly high. >> it's troublingly high. it's not going down, indeed, to an extent it's actually rise. when you take a look at the unemployment rates for those who were on extended
unemployment, they're not coming down at all. that's where really the problem's existing. and that's really an indication of how tough it is to find a job in this economy right now. and you know a lot of businesses are still hiring people who are working in other businesses. we need to take a look at the unemployed because there is an awful lot of skillses that are out there that are just not being put to use. and the longer you are on unemployed it amir-- appears the pore difficult it is to get a job and that is not good news for the long-term unemployed at this point. >> well, earlier in this cycle of increased joblessness, people were talking about employers looking at the long-term unemployed or learning to look at the long-term unemployed in a different way. it sounds like you're not seeing that yet. >> well, i'm not sure it's happening yet. i think employers do understand that being unemployed, being unemployed for an extended period of time is not necessarily an indication of the ability
and the capabilities of a particular worker. and they're looking at the unemployed in a different way. but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're going out there and finding them, and hiring them. a lot of the people who are looking, they have the connections, if they're still working and there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to bring these long-term unemployed people really into the market where they can find the jobs and make the connections necessary to get the openings that are coming up. >> suarez: professor, as we mentioned earlier, this month's numbers featured a continued decline in government employment. with the facing out of the stimulus monies, is that going to be the shape of things to come for a long time? >> well, the decline in government employment is entirely at the state and local level. there was just a 1,000 person increase at the federal level. there's clearly goinging to
be more job loss at the state and local level because the budgetary situation facing the state's governments continue to worsen, not improve. and so coming down the pike, there's going to be more tightening, not less at the state and local level. so you know, that's not the place to look for job creation. >> suarez: and states are signaling they may have trouble paying their unemployment insurance even with federal loan promises to continue paying those benefits. what do you make of that? >> well, i think one of the thingses that might be happening here is for the states with the most difficult situation, both economically and perhaps politically, they're saying to their long-term unemployed, go sit in somebody else's state. go look for a job someplace else. there aren't jobs being created here in my state, go find a job in another state. it's an interesting sort of
exporting your joblessness, that usually we talk about in the global context but we can certainly talk about it in the state to tate context as well and i thinks it there's some of that going on. how much of it is economic, how much of it is a political issue, i think that's an interesting political economy question to ask. >> suarez: but joel naroff, if you want to go look in another state, you won't necessarily be able to sell your house if you still own one. >> well, that's exactly the problem. it's a nice idea to try and export your unemployed, the only problem is that the unemployed probably can't sell their house. they've probely underwater on it or don't have enough equity to sell it and to buy another home. and that's one of the real big problems we're finding as a consequence of the housing market collapse. with bryces down, people have become housebound. they're immobile. and a lot of the growth that's occurred over the last few decades in this country has been because people are able to move
quickly can get rid of their homes and move to another place, another opening, and right now that's just not the case. and so people are stuck in two ways. they're stuck in their homes and they're stuck because there is not enough jobs in their areas and it's a tough environment for a lot of people. >> suarez: joel naroff and catherine mann, thanks for both joining us. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: the unemployment drop sent both oil prices and stock values up. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained 57 points to close above 12,376. the nasdaq rose eight points to close at 2,789. for the week, the dow gained 1.3%; the nasdaq rose 1.4%. the jobs report also pushed oil prices up to nearly $108 a barrel, a new 30-month high. >> suarez: still to come on the newshour: the fighting in libya; "new york times" journalists released from captivity; help for jobless veterans; and shields and gerson. but first, the other news of the day.
here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: at least 12 people, including u.n. staff, were killed in afghanistan when a protest against a koran burning spiraled out of control. the protest started peacefully in the northern city of mazar-e sharif, near the u.n. office there. but some protesters grabbed weapons from u.n. guards, storming the building and setting it on fire. seven of those killed worked for the u.n. the koran burning happened in florida on march 20. the american death toll in afghanistan grew by six this week. the soldiers were from the same army unit and were killed during fighting in the northeast. rival protests filled the streets of yemen's capital city today. hundreds of thousands of anti- government demonstrators gathered in sanaa. it was the largest protest yet against president ali abdullah saleh. meanwhile, thousands of government supporters held their own rally outside the presidential palace. in an extraordinary move, many mosques were also closed so that people could attend the protests. friday is the muslim day of prayer.
thousands of people made calls for freedom in syria today. the anti-government protests outside damascus turned violent when security forces opened fire, killing at least three people. in daraa, marchers gathered after friday prayers to honor more than 70 people killed in the last two weeks. a massive joint recovery effort is underway in japan for the still missing. today, japanese and american ships and helicopters searched the coastline for bodies that might have been swept out to sea nearly three weeks ago. 25,000 soldiers took part in the operation. at least 11,700 people have already been confirmed dead. the end of a power struggle in ivory coast appeared closer today. heavy fighting raged in abidjan, even as the man clinging to power vowed to fight on, and the internationally recognized leader appeared to be on the verge of victory. we have a report narrated by andy davis of independent television news.
>> reporter: crawling between two walls, he makes for a door leading to a nearby block of flats. the cameraman asks him, "who are they?" "rebels," he replies. for two days now, the so-called rebel forces of a man the u.n. deems this country's rightful head of state have been leading an assault on strategic targets in abidjan, ivory coast's economic capital. it's being described as the final push by the supporters of alassane ouattara-- recognized internationally as the winner of last november's presidential elections, but yet to unseat the man still clinging to the presidency, his old foe laurent gbagbo. in four months of electoral standoff, attempts at mediation have yielded little. hundreds have been killed. gbagbo remains, it's thought, somewhere in abidjan, surrounded by his hardcore republican guard.
he still has control of the presidential palace. senior military figures appeared on national television, pledging allegiance to alassane ouattara, one appealing for an end to what he called "the pointless massacre." there is a u.n. peace keeping force here. so, too, a 1,000-strong garrison of french troops-- france is still ivory coast's main trading partner. they were offering shelter to 500 foreign residents, they said. tonight, the country's borders are closed. the african union has called upon laurent gbagbo to hand over power immediately. a gbagbo spokesman has said, reportedly, that surrender is out of the question. >> sreenivasan: in washington, a state department spokesman also urged gbagbo to give up his bid to stay in power and "read the writing on the wall". president obama signaled today a congressional compromise over the budget may be near. democrats and republicans have been discussing cuts in the range of $33 billion. but the president said the possibility of a government shutdown still loomed if
congress cannot reach agreement. >> they're going have to figure this out. bo sides are close, though. and we know a compromise is within reach. and we also know that we can't afford not to have congress work out these budgets and make sure that we're investing in the right things. if these budget negotiations break down, we could end up having to shut down the government, just at a time when the economy is starting to recovery. >> sreenivasan: speaker of the house john boehner again said there is no agreement on a specific number for the cuts. but he vowed to fight for the largest one republicans could get without shutting the government down. spending. because cutting spending reduce uncertainty it will help our economy. and frankly that's all beyond us. if you shut the government down t will end up costing more than you say save. because you interrupt contracts. there are a lot of problemses with the idea of
shutting the government down. it is not the goal. the goal is to cut spending. >> sreenivasan: the federal government's authority to spend money expires next friday. the number of deaths on u.s. highways has plunged to its lowest level since 1949. the transportation department announced today fewer than 33,000 people were killed in 2010, a 3% drop from the previous year. officials credited several factors, including car safety improvements, increased seat belt use, and campaigns against drunk and distracted driving. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and to libya, where forces loyal to moammar qaddafi shelled opposition troops in several key cities. but the qaddafi government has been hit with high level defections this week, and there have been reports more will come. lindsey hilsum of independent television news reports from benghazi, the rebel-held city where there was talk of a cease- fire. >> reporter: they gathered in benghazi today to thank the
coalition, and show support for the uprising. the rebels can't win on the battlefield, and the deal with colonel qaddafi is unacceptable to most here. their best hope is that defections will weaken the regime so that those around the libyan leader negotiate an end to his rule. for the first time, a u.n. envoy flew from tripoli to benghazi to see the national council, trying to arrange a cease-fire and the protection of civilians, as outlined in the security council resolution. today, it emerged that mohammed ishmael, a close associate of qaddafi's son saif, has been in london talking to british officials. but it's not clear if he's trying to find a way to keep the family in power or a way out. the besieged city of misrata suffered an intense artillery bombardment today. already, 400 civilians are believed to have died, and more than a thousand have been
injured. a rebel representative who escaped, arriving in benghazi by boat, told me the situation is desperate. >> we need a way to actually... to solve the problem of the tanks and all these snipers on the road. >> reporter: but how can nato solve the problem of the tanks and snipers, because if they bomb those tanks and snipers in the city, civilians will be killed. >> these tanks are actually in the middle of big roads, and i'm sure there is the technology that they can only shooting these tanks. >> reporter: but as fighting continues in the east, civilians are already being injured. seven, including at least three children from the same family, were reportedly killed in a coalition air strike near brega on wednesday. that's what the coalition has been trying hard to avoid, hence the renewed urgency for a diplomatic, not a military, solution.
>> woodruff: late today, the libyan government rejected the conditions for a cease-fire, saying they would not withdraw from the cities they hold. both the politics and the battle lines shift in libya by the day and by the hour. margaret warner has the story of what that can mean in the most extreme circumstances. >> as fighting between pro and anti-qaddafi forces raged in the eastern city of ajdabiyah in mid morning four "new york times" journalist and their driver were seized at a government military check point. the four, reporter shadid, steven farrell and photographerers lynsey addario and tyler hicks were held cap take-- captive tore six days often beaten and abused. after multination negotiations they were released on march 21st into the custody of turkish diplomats. their driver is still missing. joining us to talk about their experiences and the wider libyan battlefront are
anthony shadid, and lynsey addario. welcome to you both. tony shadid, beginning with you, you went through an incredible ordeal. tell us, give us a flavor of it and what it told you really about the nature of this conflict right now. >> well, i think, you know, we were taken by surprise somewhat that libyan forces had ensierk-- encircled the town. after we were leaving, in a battle we thought might be seminal in this town called ajdabiyah, we ran into a check point that i think lynsey identify first as a government check point. we were captured. we were bound, blindfolded later and then, you know, set off on a long odyssey across the country until we arrived in tripoli. i think what we saw as we went across that country and this tech from ajdabiyah to tripoli was the wreckage of a state, a state struggling to kind of maintain its legitimacy, maintain its control over the country, and having a difficult time doing so.
>> warner: and lynsey i don't want to make you revisit all the horrors but tell us, give a flavor of the kind of abuse. you were all physically assaulted, attacked. and for you it did have some sexual overtones. >> yes. from the minute we were taken and put on the ground, they started searching our pockets and they sort of turned me over immediately and started grabbing my breasts and groping me. and for me, you know, in this part of the world and in most of the muslim world there's a real separation between men and women. and generally men don't touch women. and so for me, it set the tone for the rest of the time that we were taken. and i was repeatedly touched over those six-- or over the first three days. >> warner: and tony, back to you, you men were also attacked, were you not? >> we were. you know, we were beaten
several times over the first three days. and lynsey pointed out the first three days were the most har rogue. once we were in trip lee we were treated quite well and even in moments over the first three days, lynsey went through an unbelievable ordeal, tyler, steven and i, you know, we were head butted, sometimes with the butt of a pistol. but you know, at times we also, you know, were met with, you know, a certain-- i don't want to say hospitality but maybe a generosity would be a better word. as soon as we humanized ourselves, as soon as we became people in their eyes we were treated at times better. but you know, i don't want to dismiss what, you know, what was visited upon us over the first 72 hours. >> warner: and tony, you are deeply experienced in conflict zones. what was your observations about the nature of qaddafi's forces? i mean it sounds as if they were undisciplined and cruel. >> an arcic, chaotic, thuggish.
it really wasn't the semblance of an army. i would have to say. it was a militia. it was young guyses with guns. and lynsey and i have both seen this time and again in different countries. and you know, young guys with guns don't really feel like they have to live by any rules. and that was definitely, i think, the-- it was our interface with the state that we encountered. >> warner: and lynsey, in fact, in the piece you all wrote jointly for the times, i think there is a line that says we realized there wasn't much of a spraltion separation between rebels and these army guys. they were all just kind of young men with guns. >> yeah, i would say the only difference is that qaddafi's troops had uniforms. they had flack jackets, they had helmets, they had trucks. they had more equipment. probably more, including the air strikeses they just had more ammunition, everything. whereas the rebels were just-- they were sort of the same soldiers but
unorganized. and we saw-- we spent quite a lot of time with the rebelses but one thing, i have covered quite a few conflicts and the one thing that was really difficult about covering this is that every time fighting was going on and we would go to the front with the opposition, and when qaddafi's troops was start pounding with tank fire, artillery, air strikes, the rebels would just turn around and flee and leave immediately. i mean they-- they, there was a column of people fleeing and fighters fleeing. as journalists we were all sort of-- we were almost sometimes standing there in shock that everyone would just take off and leave the front line. i mean it as was pretty amazing. >> warner: and then tony, when you were with these qaddafi forces, you speak and understand arabic well, i know. what were they saying about what's motivating them? what do you think they are fighting for and how motivated did they seem? >> you know what really struck me, when we heard qaddafi's speeches over
those days and weeks, the speecheses were often i guess a source of ridicule, this idea that rebelses were taking hall use genic drugs, they were all al qaeda fanatics or pill tenant islamists, what struck me in hearing the rebels, hearinging what they were saying to us is they actually believed this. they believed this idea that they were fighting militant islamists. they were fighting al qaeda. and they also had a really difficult time managing libya without qaddafi. you have to remember all these young men with guns were basically raised under qaddafi. they had never lived in a libya without him. and i think there was a difficult, you know, it was a difficult prospect for them to vision a country where he was not there. >> warner: and lynsey, go back to this long trek you took, really, from ajdabiyah all the way to tripoli and tony has just said that you had seen kind of the wreckage of a state. you have this photographer's eye. give us just a little flavor of that. >> i mean, unfortunately i
was bound most of the trip and blindfolded and so i couldn't see very much. but we were blindfolded. we took a six-hour journey in the back of a pickup truck where they blindfolded us and tied our hands behind our back and threw us in the back of a pickup truck and we were taken from probably the outskirts of ajdabiyah all the way to sirte where he spent a night in prison. and in that drive tyler was able to see out from under his blindfold and he was sort of narrating the scenes as long the side of the road. and i was hiding, i was sort of in fetal position if the back of the truck. just to sort of get myself out of view of the people we were passing on the streetment because every 45 minutes or so every check point we went through, people would come over and sort of smack us around and, in fact, they would punch one of us or scream things at us, like you dogses and it was really medieval. i mean it was as if we were taken through one of those
medieval scenes and we were these prisonerses in the back of a pickup truck. people were really angry as they were-- as we drove past. >> warner: well, quite an ordeal that you have been through. and i'm glad are you home safely. anthony shadid and lynsey addario, thank you. >> thank you. >> our pleasure. >> suarez: and we come back to unemployment and the challenges facing military men and women when they come back home and look for work in the civilian world. newshour economics correspondent paul solman has our story. it's part of his reporting on "making sense of financial news." >> if i owned a business and somebody took a bullet for me, i can at least give that person a job in my corporation. >> reporter: edmond sheffield worked as a military policeman while in the service. he got out last march. >> i applied to maybe 100 jobs. >> reporter: erik vadalma served
in baghdad, left the air force in 2008. all he could find-- a part-time gig at ikea. >> i didn't have enough money to make ends meet. >> reporter: debra bain did a six-year hitch. >> you feel like you've lost who you are as a person, your value. >> reporter: just three of more than two million iraq and afghanistan vets. despite incentives to hire them, 11% were jobless last month; for those aged 18 to 34, 14%. paul rieckhoff founded and runs i.a.v.a., iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. >> they're coming back from serving our country, sometimes multiple tours, and their welcome home is an unemployment check. >> reporter: this week, rieckhoff led the now-annual charge on washington dubbed "storm the hill." this year, vets urged congress to help thin the jobless ranks with hiring inducements like employer tax breaks. >> so if folks want to support the troops, want to support veterans, hire them. >> reporter: himself an iraq vet, rieckhoff says it's an
outrage: you learn the key job skills while serving your country-- selflessness, loyalty, teamwork, leadership. but to employers, you've fallen behind. >> it's not like folks are waiting back home saying, "hey, buddy, let me explain to you what you missed while you were gone." you feel like rip van winkle, like you woke up and everybody has been moving on with life, and you've been sleeping for a year and a half. >> reporter: programs like the veterans curation project ease the transition-- by teaching vets current computing skills, for example, to archive artifacts found during army corps of engineers' projects. corps archaeologist sonny trimble had the idea after a tour in iraq digging up mass graves. >> the people that kept us alive and guarded us all the time, day and night, were soldiers, marines-- 24 hours a day. they were around us while we were working, guarding us while we slept at night. so i wanted pay these individuals back. >> reporter: a job that pays up to $14.50 an hour, funded by the
army corps of engineers. a quiet alternative to the sudden jolt of the job market. >> it's a complete 180 turnaround. >> reporter: edmond sheffield joined the archaeology program in november after beating the pavement for months. >> just going throughout your whole military career, it's structure, structure, structure; instructions, instructions, instructions. some people just can't... just snap your fingers and go, like, "hey, i'm a civilian. i'm no longer in the military." >> in the military, there's a sense of security, you know, financial security, and there's also a sense of community. when i separated, i lost all that. i was isolated out here in maryland, and so that made going to school incredibly difficult. >> reporter: erik vadalma was one of the half a million vets who've used the expanded g.i. bill, which pays for public college tuition, housing and books. but the time and place were out of joint. >> i remember walking out into a
courtyard and i smelt marijuana. you know, that sort of thing, for me coming out of the military, that's absolutely unacceptable. and that also creates kind of... you know, it makes me feel a little more isolated because i don't fit into that group. >> reporter: vadalma dropped out. though so many of her peers do not, debra bain has a b.a. she began her masters at community college, but had to continue her studies online. >> there were individuals that were forming their own little class when the teacher was conducting the class, and i felt that was disrespectful. it was disruptive behavior that i just couldn't tolerate. >> reporter: this program helps vets ease back into civilian life, instead of "hero one day, nobody the next." >> being in uniform, it's like: "hey, you like a sandwich? thanks for serving our country. handshake." you know, but you walk around with your little veteran i.d.
and it's like, "oh, you served the country. that will be $5.50." >> reporter: another issue-- today, fewer than 1% of the population has ever served, so most civilian employers may not understand military experience. >> when an applicant applies and has a bachelors' degree, the employer knows what the employee knows. in the military, they probably don't know what we've done, they don't have a good idea of our skills. >> reporter: employers admit to other fears. in a survey last year, 46% of human resource managers agreed that p.t.s.d.-- post-traumatic stress disorder-- and other mental health issues posed a challenge. emmanuel riley left the army after returning from afghanistan in 2005. he lives in a housing unit provided by a non-profit. >> i was a combat engineer. along with that is we can
detach landmines, i.e.d.s. >> reporter: so, your job involved disarming explosives. >> yes. and i lost some friends that were a part of my unit due to my particular job in the military. what sometimes can define your life after service. >> reporter: like what? >> alcohol abuse, drinking a lot. sometimes, nightmares, a lot of those, a lot of nightmares. >> reporter: riley didn't know he had p.t.s.d. he wound up homeless, living in a storage unit. >> divorced. i lost my family, lost quite a bit. >> reporter: now sober and in treatment for his p.t.s.d., riley's looking hard for a job. according to a 2008 rand study, nearly one third of iraq and afghanistan vets had symptoms of p.t.s.d., major depression, or
had experienced a traumatic brain injury. debra bain is still haunted by the iraq morgue in which she volunteered. >> when you see certain things in life that makes no sense, you pretty much lose your sense of self. it tears you apart. >> reporter: even corps archaeologist sonny trimble struggled with p.t.s.d. >> you don't realize that what the war has done is kind of whittled you away. it's kind of sanded you away like with fine sandpaper. and you can't do a lot of the things you could do in the past. i wouldn't come out of my house on the weekend for over a year. that's probably the first time i've said that to anybody besides my family. >> reporter: is it illegitimate, then, for employers to harbor some fear of worst-case scenarios like flashbacks or becoming violent, "going postal"? >> the military doesn't have a problem with us being postal, and we carry guns! >> as far as p.t.s.d. goes, are
employers asking the same questions if someone is blind? you know, p.t.s.d.-- it's an illness, but it's manageable. >> reporter: the vets told us they're grateful for the program. >> i was pretty much feeling like i was going to hit rock bottom. and then this came along. >> i was on the verge of being homeless. me, my family were about to be out on the streets. once they hired me, i was able to, you know, work, support my family, be able to find a new place where we're no longer on the verge of being homeless. we had, you know, a place to stay, income to, you know, pay the bills and put food on the table. >> it offered that sense of structure, that stability. it allowed me to pay my bills. >> reporter: happily, more than half of this project's 77 participants have found work or gone to college. vadalma starts a job as budget analyst at the bureau of economic analysis this month;
sheffield, as an insurance agent at aflac. >> thank you for your service. >> reporter: but hundreds of thousands of afghanistan and iraq vets are still jobless. and thousands more are slated to return home in the months ahead. >> woodruff: and finally tonight, the analysis of shields and gerson. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "washington post" columnist michael gerson. david brooks is off tonight. >> so gentlemen, are we going to start with the jobs numbers. but mark, hearing that story about what these military veterans face, that's tough. >> yeah, it is, judy. it seems every politician speech and corporate chief and public official begins with honoring the great service and courage of our men and women in uniform. it would be great to see a competition among american employers to employ veteranses who have come back and who have made that kind of a commitment. i mean the unemployment rate among veterans is
unacceptable. and it is really ungrateful. >> woodruff: it's been true in other wars but it seems particularly rough right now, doesn't it. >> i agree with that, combined with a terrible economy. the question is whether employers want to take risks on, and the answer here is they should take risks on our veterans. you know, they do have challenges. they do have problems. they have been participating in very difficult wars. but they are owed a lot. and this is a case where employers need to step up. >> woodruff: so michael, the overall numbers that we got back today, last month over 200,000 jobs created that we wherd raised discussion earlier, how do you look at this? is this a turning point? >> well, i look at it as good but not great. yeah, at least yet. the momentum is right direction. but it needs to get, you know, gather momentum this is a case where in order just to keep the unemployment rate where it is right now you have to create 1 r50,000 jobs a month.
this is about 60,000 jobs above that. but to get full employment, you're talking about millions of additional jobs. and so we're getting there as a very, very slow pace. i would add that a lot of the concerns in this economy also have to do with the housing market, which i think has not recovered in a certain way. there are 2 million homes right now that are owned by banks or on the verge of foreclosure. and i don't think until that problem gets better that the president can strike up happy days are here again. >> woodruff: mark, good, but not great. >> good, judy. february, march, two month record s the best in five years. and now we have had 13 consecutive months of private sector growth. but before we break out the champagne, the sobering reality is that we are still having in this country 7.2 million fewer jobs today than we had in december 2007 when the recession began. and at the current rate it would twak a full three
years just to return to that level. so it is, it's good, it's encouraging, it's in the right direction but there are sobering factors. >> woodruff: an if you talk to people that study this they say in the all those jobs are going to come back. >> no, and especially for older workers. there has to be a recognition that the jobs aren't going to come back the same way by any means. so many of them it could be a lifetime of really unemployment or partial employment. and there has to be some way of addressing that. >> woodruff: what is the political meaning of this, michael? i mean is it clear that the president has helped a little bit when the numberses are good like this or what? >> clarely you have four months of job growth. that's good for the president. i think they welcome it. i don't think they should underestimate, though, the level of economic anxiety out there that is am coulding from a variety of different sources. not just the direction of the job picture. i mentioned housing. oil prices. you know, there is a lot of fear out there, and if they look to triumphant with small incremental gains, i
think that that could hurt them. >> woodruff: what about the politicses? >> well w i think you can say, the argument i think the white house would make is look, had the european debt crisis, we had japan and the tragedy there, the world's third greatest economy. we've had oil price spikes and uncertainty in the middle east. and in spite of that they still had this job record. but underlying it, judy t is a great question that is asked and if you believe the country is headed in the right direction we are off on the wrong track. and americanses are better than 2 to 1 believe the country is off on the wrong track. and that is-- that is serious. >> woodruff: so you talk about the uncertainty in the middle east. the president made a speech to the nation. it was monday night, did he do what he needed to do at this point? >> well, i think he did a very effective job. >> woodruff: libya. >> i think he did an effective job explaining the humanitarian states of what we went on. he said directly i was to the going to stand by and watch mass graves being filled. i thought thats was
effective. i think he did less good of a job as most people commented after the speech in saying what our actual goalses are in libya. this is a case where the administration says we want qaddafi gone, but we want a limited and temporary role in libya. and those two goals may not be the same, you know, match one another. >> woodruff: and so-- opinions the only two elements of the entire libya, call it engagement conflict war, whatever you want to call it, the president has any control over. that is how much the united states force is actually committed to the theatre. and secondly the speech he made. i thought he made a good speech. i agree with michael that the humanitarian case, he made it quite strongly, quite emphatically. i think he implicitly contrasted the action, he had been criticized for not moving fast enough with the united states year-long delay before we moved in bosnia, on humanitarian
grounds. he explicitly contracted himself with president bush in going into iraq in terms of consultation, multilateral, other countries. the united states to the being a loan actor. and so i think he did. but still there is no final exit strategy. and they've continued to fudge. they made the case that this is a terrible man. he has been there for 42 years, through seven america presidents. he's a bad man. they made the case but this still won't say regime change. i mean i don't know what it is that we want from him. >> woodruff: and the president is saying, and secretary of defense gates is saying we're to the going to send troops. he said at least not on my watch we're to the going to send troops. are they really, michael, bound by whatever qaddafi decides to do? >> i think they face a difficult situation where the regime seems week. there are some defectors from the regimement but the rebels seem weaker. they don't have an organized army. they have very lilco manned and control structure.
they can't seem to hold territory. they lose it once they gain it. and so that's likely to result either in stalemate or slaughter. and neither of which are particularly good outcomes for the united states. i think you can make the argument that if qaddafi surviveses, he's even more dangerous as a cornered animal in a certain way, with a significant amount of oil revenue. so you know, this could get very messy what outcome dow want. and what methods do you employ. >> is there a certain amount of luck. >> oh, sure. >> sure there is, judy. but i would say this. any mission that ends or is completed with qaddafi still in effective control of libya, is a failure. i mean this is, we can talk about the speech and i think it was really a good speech and i think the president makes that about as wells as certainly any president in my lifetime. but this is a results determined intervention. whether, in fact, qaddafi goes, whether there is a
libya that is a functioning society, and a civil society. i mean all of those are open questions and they do involve some luck. >> woodruff: meanwhile they're debating whether or not to help the rebels and how much help do we give without sending troops in, cia. >> the cia. >> covert methods, arming them, training them, those are possibilities. >> woodruff: let's bring it back here and talk about the ever lasting debate, michael, over the budget. the 2011 budget. this is now what the fourth or fifth holding paingt earn they've been in. the vice president, vice president biden came out and said we have agreed on a number. the democrats and the white house and the republicans have agreed it is will be a $33 billion cut. john boehner the speaker comes out the incomes day and says no, we haven't agreed on any number. what is going on? >> i think that the number that they talked about, that the vice president announced, the 30 some billion dollars is actually a strong negotiating position for the president and the administration.
you know, it's something that the left had previously rejected. senator reid said this was draconianment he wasn't going to accept it. it was the initial position of republicans about 30 billion dollar cuts. so right now boehner is in a very difficult circumstances. this is a good deal. normally would you take it. but he's got to persuade his own conference that includes tea party members who are pretty much off the reservation. and his message is essentially take this deal and the real argument will come over the 2012 budget which is going to be announced next week, with entitlement reform and other things. but i don't know if they are going to take it or not. >> woodruff: but he's not acknowledging that, that's what is going on. >> that's what is happening behind the scenes, yeah. >> john boehner is in a difficult and somewhat uncomfortable position. for the fourth day in a row he was before the cameras today, in the microphones. john boehner is not somebody who thrives in public. it is not something he seeks out. he doesn't need that kind of
a fix. the fix he's in politically is this: as he said today, he said closing down the federal government will actually cost more than it would save. he said, and that was directed at his own caucus, judy and to the people that michael talked about, the tea party. >> woodruff: some who are prepared to do it. >> who think that's the real litmus test of their commitment to the government. and the, what bayne certificate saying is look, this is the first fight. it's not the most important fight. it's not the biggest fight. and for months now we've heard that there's going to be a major revelation, next week, a production, a written, directed and starring paul ryan. the, you know, the latest and the greatest in the party of lincoln. and the worst thing that could happen is paul ryan is unveiling the 2012 budget with its bold and dramatic initiatives s that the government is being shut down. i mean that would be a internal, terrible step. >> it would step all over. >> yeah.
>> woodruff: so is there any sign, michael, that the tea party folks are goinging to fall in line, at least enough of them to give john boehner -- >> there are two problems. there are tea party freshman who really do view the shutdown as an advantage which i think is a mistake. but that's true. but there are also some longer-term republicans that want to be seen as rebel leaders. people like mike pence, mish em bachmann who are taking advantage of the situation to expand their own prominence. pence led a rally. shut it down, shut it down. and so i think that's a problem for boehner too. not just the freshman, but also the older members who are trying to take advantage of the situation. >> woodruff: and meanwhile the president, or i should say the democratses are getting some heat from the left. they're saying the white house, the democrats have maybe give then too much already. >> the explanation you get from the white house is that the president was seen, as too intimately and personally and completely involved in the legislative
process the first two years. and so they have distanced him from this. and there is this grumbling. a, that they have given am too much too soon on the cuts that were talked about. and that the president himself is not personally sophed. it's not simply mike pence and some of the others, newt gingrich, of recent and fond memory, and presidential ambitions, appeared before the house republicans yesterday and urged them to be even tougher. i'm sure john boehner must have been thrilled by that appearance. >> woodruff: well, we are going to have to call it a stop right now. and we have recent very fond memories of the two of you, mark shields, michael gerson, thank you both. >> thank you. >> suarez: again, the major developments of the day: the nation's unemployment rate dropped to a two-year low, and the economy gained more than 200,000 new jobs last month. at least 12 people, including u.n. staff, were killed in afghanistan when a protest
against a koran burning in the u.s. spiraled out of control. and government forces in libya bombarded opposition troops in key cities. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: paul has more on today's jobs numbers, including a web chat with economist simon johnson. on "art beat," jeffrey brown talks to tea obreht, author of the new best-selling novel, "the tiger's wife." and also online, we mark the beginning of autism awareness month with an interview with robert macneil, one of the founders of the newshour. robin has just completed a six- part series on autism, which begins airing on the broadcast on april 18. it looks at the growing impact of autism, as seen by families, children, educators, doctors and clinicians. in this excerpt from our interview, he explains how he got interested in the subject. >> s there a-- there's a large bulk of the series is human stories. the first one is about my grandson. it's the first time ever in my career as a journalist, which goes back 60, or 50 years or so, that i've
brought a member of my family into a story. it is crossing a boundary, i know. but it seems justified. and in this one case, and in that one-story, it's quite personal. and it is about how he is, and how he came to be diagnosed and how the family is living with it. >> the series begins april 18thment >> sreenivasan: the series begins april 18, but you can watch our interview with robert macneil on our web site right now. all that and more is at newshour.pbs.org. ray. >> suarez: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll look at japan in crisis after the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear emergency. i'm ray suarez. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> during its first year, the humpback calf and its mother are
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