Skilled Workers Will Drive Jobs: Former Coke CEO

Jobs won’t come back in the short term, until companies need to hire, Neville Isdell, former CEO and chairman of Coca-Cola, told CNBC Wednesday. But it’s a long-term employment plan, led by education, that the US lacks and needs to address, said Isdell.

“There’s too much focus on the unemployment numberand not enough real strategy on where this economy needs to go,” said Isdell, who worked for Coke in various capacities before heading the beverage giant between 2004 and 2008.

“Education is a huge issue. If you’re going to stay competitive in the world, it’s got to be about education, education, education. It’s skilled people who are actually going to drive the jobs.”

Isdell said he is “long” on America and added the demographics of the country bode well for long-term growth. He said the weak dollar, which he predicted would stay that way for a prolonged period, is good for the US economy and will drive job growth here.

For example, Caterpillar, which exports its construction equipment around the world, he added, is one beneficiary of the weaker dollar.

By contrast, he said, “Germany is doing very well, in the European context, but it’s all about exports. You could legitimately criticize them, and I would, about what they’re doing for their domestic economy. There’s no consumer growth [there]. You need that.”