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Climate Good for Earnings, Not Jobs: Perelman

Matthew J. Belvedere

Financier Ronald Perelman told CNBC on Thursday that earnings are growing at the companies in which he holds stakes, including cosmetics and beauty giant Revlon (REV), but top-line growth has been difficult.

Perelman, chairman and CEO of privately held MacAndrews & Forbes, said on " Squawk Box " that it's an interesting time: "Overall, our businesses are doing well. Not in regard to revenue growth, but in regard to controlling expenses."

"[Top-line growth] very, very difficult in every sector we're in," he added. "Revlon Cosmetics are going to grow two to three percent this year. Everything is around that level or flat."

Perelman said the current trend of controlling costs is good for profits, but not for job growth. "Unfortunately what is good news for American industry-that profitability of most companies is strong-is bad news for those looking for work," he said.

"We've rationalized our businesses over the last five years. That's good news for operating companies around America, it's bad news for the unemployment rate because those people that we laid-off in 2008-2009, there's no need for us to hire back," he said, "We've gotten more efficient and we've gotten more productive."

Perelman appeared on CNBC in his first-ever, live television interview and announced that he pledged $100 million to Columbia Business School. The gift will be used to develop a new facility that will strengthen innovation programs there.

-By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere . Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC.

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