Careers

Hillary Clinton: Unemployed Americans may need to make this 'gut-wrenching' choice

Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C. on November 16, 2016.
Nikki Kahn | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C. on November 16, 2016.

Unemployment is down, wages are up and to many Americans, the financial crisis may feel like a memory. But for those in rural America and regions tied to industries on the decline, joblessness remains a huge problem.

Hillary Clinton says there is one possible solution to joblessness — but it's a tough pill to swallow. In "What Happened," Clinton writes that the possible solution is one few people want to discuss.

"As hard as it is," she writes, "people may have to leave their hometowns and look for work elsewhere in America."

Job seekers wait in line to speak with representatives during a Choice Career Fair in Los Angeles.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Job seekers wait in line to speak with representatives during a Choice Career Fair in Los Angeles.

While she advocates for local governments, employers and other actors to work together to bring new jobs in booming areas such as healthcare, construction and solar power, she also says that those efforts might not be enough.

"In some places the old jobs aren't coming back," she writes, "and the infrastructure and workforce needed to support big new industries aren't there."

Clinton recalls one conversation she had on the campaign trail with a laid-off steelworker in Kentucky. He had found a job in Columbus, Ohio, but didn't want to move, despite the 120-mile commute. His whole life and identify, he explained, was tied to Kentucky.

"This is painful, gut-wrenching stuff," Clinton writes. "No politician wants to be the one to say it."

In his bestselling book "Hillbilly Elegy," author J.D. Vance describes this deep-rooted relationship to one's hometown, and explores how difficult it is for someone born in Appalachia, as he was, to leave their family and life behind, even if it's to escape poverty.

To be sure, Clinton does not encourage an unemployed person to pack up and go without trying to find alternate solutions. Some options career and economic experts recommend exploring before considering a move include looking for remote work or researching growing local industries in your area and finding a way to gain the required skills.

"In some places the old jobs aren't coming back, and the infrastructure and workforce needed to support big new industries aren't there." -Hillary Clinton, "What Happened"

Anthony Carnevale, research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says accredited community colleges offering vocational programs could be a good answer.

"In general we as a country are in the process of connecting the post-secondary system to the economy," he says. "Community colleges are the closest to doing that."

If efforts such as these don't work, however, people may want to consider relocating to a city with more job opportunities, Clinton says.

"I believe that after we do everything we can to help create new jobs in distressed small towns and rural areas," she writes, "we also have to give people the skills and tools they need to seek opportunities beyond their hometowns."

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook.

To read more on this topic, check out 10 states where you can get a good-paying job without a college degree and eight promising industries for workers without a college degree.