Starbucks CEO: Unemployment level is nothing to celebrate

February 20, 2012

CANDY CROWLEY: Do you sense it’s any better? Here are the figures I would point out to you: The Dow Jones at this point is pushing into the 13,000-level, which is the highest we’ve seen it in years; the unemployment rate is at 8.3 percent—not great, but it’s not the 10 percent it used to be; and consumer confidence has been up for the last four weeks, and you know and I know, that when consumers are feeling confident, it tends to help drive the economy.

So, do you sense--this to me is the same kind of picture that you painted four or five months ago, do you sense that nothing has changed?

HOWARD SCHULTZ: I really believe that you cannot use the stock market as a proxy for the economy, and consumer confidence, although it is a good metric, should also not be the primary issue. I really believe that the economy, perhaps, on the margin, has been improved.

But at the same time, you have the majority of states in America who are facing insolvency, cutting social services and the safety net for those who need it most, and the unemployment level is at a level that we should not be celebrating the fact that we’re down from 9.1 to 8.3.

We still have a disastrous situation in America, where people feel as if they have no hope and no opportunity for jobs. As a result of that, their self-esteem—it’s almost a fracturing of morality of America, when we’re celebrating these kind of statistics and we still have so many people in the country that can’t find a job.