Employed again, but still looking for work

Job applicants wait in line to be interviewed during a two-day job fair at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino July 30, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

The Labor Department reported this morning that employers added 204,000 workers to their payrolls in October, but the jobless rate rose to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent. The report was delayed for a week due to last month's government shutdown, and was well above the dire predictions of many economists.

But down in the trenches of the labor market, people don't need a government forecast to tell them that times are still tough for so many. This is especially true in Nevada, where 9.5 percent of the workforce remains unemployed.

After a five month stretch without work, 24-year-old Rebecca Farewell Prisaznuk finally found a job she likes working for the state in Carson City. But that wasn't the end of her unemployment nightmare.

"It was tough. I mean, I want to look at it in perspective, because I think compared to a lot of people, I wasn't unemployed for that long," Prisaznuk says of her time as a unemployment statistic. "But when you're in that situation, you realize how hard it is to pay your bills and make sure you're putting food on the table."

Debts began to pile up while Prisaznuk was unemployed. Between student loans and some emergency medical bills, Prisaznuk says she was forced to take out a personal loan just to stay afloat. Despite that she's now employed again, Prisaznuk says her debts are so significant that her new job doesn't cover her expenses. She has no choice other than to find a second job, essentially to pay for the 5 months she spent without work.

"I've been looking since June for part-time work -- retail or food service -- because I know a lot of those will have more evening geared shifts so that's more along the lines of what my schedule will allow," she says.

And finding a decent part-time job is a challenge too, especially in a place like Nevada. Prisaznuk has had to struggle with potential jobs that offer low wages and not much time to think about whether it's a good fit for her.

"It's kind of an employers' market, I think, at this point in time," she says. "So, they can ask you to make a decision really quickly or offer you a lower wage just because there are so many other people who will jump at it, so they kind of put you in a tough spot."

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...