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 | This is my journey through the unemployment black hole. I've been unemployed since May 17, 2011, when I lost my supervisor job at a Wal-Mart in Hazleton, Pa.
I was let go so they could save some money, although they would say differently. They called it "poor work performance," even though I just had my yearly evaluation, which was a standard.
Since then, I've moved to Lorain, Ohio, to live with my brother because I was going to lose my apartment and be homeless. I've had a total of two interviews since arriving in Ohio, but I've had no job offers. And I've applied to everything I can. I really don't care what job I do as long as I have a job. I'm always looking for jobs, whether they be fast food, retail, clerical or graphic design. But another problem is not having a vehicle; I just got my first driver's license ever.
My unemployment benefits only have one more week left, and I'm starting to get scared again. There is a chance I'll be in low-income housing soon, but certain things aren't paid for, such as phone, internet, and food. I've tried getting food stamps but the evaluation I was given said I'd only be eligible for $8 a month. Because of that extremely low amount, I gave up on that.
I've come to think that my age may be a factor in why people don't want to hire me. Most companies want the younger crowd, employees younger than 40. I'm older than 40 and getting desperate.
There is an addendum to my story since I first started writing it: The weekend before Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my brain. I'm scheduled for surgery on Monday. The timing is terrible. I finally landed a job last week, and I had interview for housing. Just when things were looking up.
In any case, I have been calling friends and family to let them know how much I care about them -- because with brain surgery, you never know.