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 workers to share their job-hunting stories. Here's one.
FIRST PERSON | Two years ago, I was fired from my regular full-time position. I worked in the warehouse and manufacturing industry at the time. Today, I am still unemployed and still searching for a job in my area, here in Torrington, Conn.
I have been trying to get my own business, The Spiritual Bear Handmade metaphysical items and more, making a profit and that still has yet to happen. I have even been forced to sell my own things on eBay just to pay for some bills in the house. Now even though I am a small-business owner, my company is still too young to generate a profit or income for me. The industry is retail, and with the shape of the economy, it is not doing as well as it should be. I am using my own personal money to keep it going.
Over the past two years, I have searched day in and day out for jobs in my area and in surrounding towns. I'm told I am over-qualified for a position or the company is not hiring. I have applied to manufacturing positions, office positions, residential and commercial cleaning positions, management positions as I have the knowledge and experience to do, and even entry-level positions. With gas prices too high, I can't afford to take a minimum wage-paying position in a town that is close to an hour's drive one way. The positions that I know I can do and apply for, I don't hear anything back from the company or the company wants a four-year degree and 15 years' experience (neither of which I have).
I am currently back in college and have six courses left until I receive my bachelor's of business management degree, but there are still no job prospects or offers. In the two years that I have been unemployed and searching for a position, my unemployment also ran out. I was on unemployment for about a year and three months, and then it ran out, leaving me with nothing afterward and a business that was soaking up all my finances. Each week I would get $240 from unemployment and that was net. How can anybody with rent to pay, bills to pay and more live off $240 a week, especially when no company is willing to hire them?
I have overdrawn on bank accounts, had to sell my own things on online auctions, and have been forcing and pushing my small business hard to grow and profit as much as I can.
I follow all of the helpful tips I find online about resume writing and interviewing; I have also started a LinkedIn profile and my own blog in order to help showcase my skills, knowledge and abilities. I figured this would surely help me to get another job and network with like-minded people. I show all companies I do get an interview with my recommendations from LinkedIn connections and clients to my business.
I've talked to a few people in a similar situation who've said companies won't give someone a chance if the person has been unemployed for a year or more; I am finding this is true each day that I go out and apply for a job and never hear anything back.
Since the election is over, I, like many others, can only hope and pray the economy changes for the better. Right now the state of the economy, in my own personal eyes, is not any better than it was four years ago. From what I read all the time in the news, the reporters always say unemployment has dropped. Where? It sure has not around my area, each day I see more and more people looking for work in my area.
Taxes and gas prices are high; the cost of food and basic needs are skyrocketing. My husband and I barely scrape by on groceries each week, and he is forced to work 75 to 80 hours a week because I still have not found another job.
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