The increasing difficulty of being out of work

David Brancaccio Mar 7, 2014
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The increasing difficulty of being out of work

David Brancaccio Mar 7, 2014
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If you go on Craigslist these days, you’ll sometimes see stuff for sale by people who say they need the money after their federal unemployment benefits ran out. People like 38-year-old Sean Brereton of Northport, New York who lost his mid-level job in commercial banking. He recently sold a flat screen TV because he and his wife’s cash-flow is down to near nothing.

“Over the Christmas season, I went to apply at major department stores and they basically told me that a white-collar worker with a college degree, they won’t even hire,” Bereton says. “It leaves me in a position where I’m still paying Sallie Mae for my student loans, but I can’t even get a job at a department stores.”

Cheryl Jones was also selling on Craigslist. Her latest round of unemployment benefits ran out in December. She’s a welder who lost her job in Texas when a GM plant closed. Just before that layoff notice, her husband had passed away from cancer, which drew down her savings. Jones says she’s now looking for work in the Raleigh-Durham of North Carolina area after not having much luck in Florida.

“I’ve sold everything I could possibly sell,” she says. “My wedding set from 34 years of marriage, I had to sell it…I was trying to sell it for $6,000, but I got to the poing where I had to pay my bills, so I put it on eBay and I only got $800 out of my rings, but it gave me enough to pay my car payments and my phone.”

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