Five million Americans are among the long-term unemployed--those without a job for 27 weeks or longer--according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another 7.3 million are looking for work, while the unemployment rate sits at 7.9 percent. Numbers aside, individual stories illustrate how America is affected. To see how joblessness hits home, Yahoo News asked unemployed and underemployed workers to share their job-hunting stories. Here's one.
FIRST PERSON | In 2010, I divorced my husband of 29 years and decided to move from Ohio back to my home town in California.
I've been working most of my adult life, in between taking care of my family. My last job in Ohio was with Family Dollar. I worked with the company for almost four years and three different stores. I loved my job and my customers loved me.
But I needed to start over nowhere near my ex. My children were all grown and except for one and they were doing pretty well on their own. We discussed it, and they all agreed if it was what was going to make me happy, they weren't going to get in my way.
I waited for the birth of my first grandchild and then decided to be on my way in April that year. I gave my job two weeks notice, and my boss said she would give me a rave review. I made it to California in mid April, and right away started looking for work. I've worked in retail on and off for more than 20 years, and I never thought I'd have a problem finding work. In November 2010, I found work finally and never thought I'd lose it, since I've never been fired from a job in my life. But in July last year, I was let go and have been frantically searching for another job ever since. I'm on unemployment and food stamps but neither are much to survive on.
The extensions run out this month, and if I don't find a job by then, I don't know what I'll do. I'm living in a motor home on the streets and have nowhere to go. I don't know the city much anymore because everything's changed. I fill out applications every day when I can get online and can get to a mall area to fill out applications. I'm at my wits' end, and the only thing I know is retail. I don't know how to get retrained, and I don't have the resources to find out. I also have severe debilitating arthritis and disc disease, but Social Security's supplemental security income says it's not bad enough that I can't work.
I never thought it would be difficult to find a job in retail. Even as bad as my pain is, I'm still willing to work if I can; I just can't find a job.