Searching for a job in Chicago

October 23, 2008 2:27:55 PM PDT
As the nation struggles with fears of a recession, there is more bad news today. Thousands of people were forced to file for unemployment last week- many more than expected- as job layoffs spread throughout the country.Analysts predict the job outlook is going to get worse before it gets better.

The labor department reported that new applications for unemployment benefits rose by 15,000 last week alone. In August, 18 states reported job losses. In September, 41 states did.

Illinois' unemployment rate is 7.1 percent, which is above the national average. It's hard to find anyone hasn't been affected or know someone who's out of work.

The last few weeks have been tough for Tanya Myers.

"Definitely losing sleep over it. It's very nerve-wracking," said Myers.

Myers' job was eliminated after a commercial real estate merger. She is among the thousands of Chicagoans out of work.

The Ford assembly plant on South Torrence will lay off nearly 800 workers next month and the Whole Foods bake house on north Oakley closed, which eliminated nearly 70 jobs.

"Chicago is certainly not immune to the recession where stronger manufacturing and transportation are seeing heavy cuts," said John Challenger, Challenger, Gray & Christmas

John Challenger heads an outplacement consulting firm. He expects fourth quarter earnings to lead to even deeper job cuts especially in the financial industry.

"Investment banking industry has disappeared. That's meant many layoffs, and a lot of them we haven't seen yet because the companies haven't announced what they're going to do. The fourth quarter is going to be tough for Wall Street and for the rest of the country," said Challenger.

Advanced Group Of Companies recruits for employers and helps individuals find work. However, there are fewer positions available-- and many qualified applicants.

"I've been in this 13 years and I've never seen anything like this," said Brian Smith, Advanced Group of Companies Samantha Knisley came to Advanced after looking for a job for months. This recent college grad took a bartending job while she looks for a job in public relations.

"Coming out of college, it's competitive. It is discouraging," said Samantha Knisley Job Applicant

For seasoned applicants like Myers, she's trying the take this time as an opportunity.

Let's make the best of it. Let's try to find something really great. And I just attacked it with a very positive attitude. But it's been wearing on me," said Myers.

While many industries are seeing cuts, there is some hope. Fields like healthcare and education continue to hire.


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