Unemployment deals blows to many

February 6, 2009 8:59:31 PM PST
The latest unemployment report is just one reason there's so much pressure on Congress to pass a stimulus package.Nearly 600,000 more jobs vanished in January. That brings the total this past year to 3.5 million.

Unemployment in this country is 7.6 percent, a 16 year high. And the future looks bleak.

Economists expect it to climb to perhaps 10 percent by springtime.

At one unemployment office in the Chicago area, every person has a story.

Vincent Tipton was a long-time steel worker in Chicago.

"It's hard. I don't even know where I'm going to start looking," said Tipton.

Gao Qiu is an architect.

"I still had a glimpse of hope it wouldn't be me, but still it happened," said Qiu.

And Andre P., a national sales representative, once pulled in $100,000 a year. It's his first time in an unemployment office.

"I've always had cash reserves on-hand. I've always been employed to be quite frank," said Andre P.

That's the story for thousands of workers.

Illinois lost 100,700 jobs from December 2007 to December 2008. The hardest hit areas are construction, trade and transport, and manufacturing.

Employment expert John Challenger says if you're out of work act now.

"This is not a time to delay. Be open to changing industries, even moving locations if you have to, in this tough economy. Maybe take a part-time job, use it as an addition for a full-time job but get to back to work right now," said John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

And part-time work is available. The CTA has a job fair Saturday and expects to hire as many was 300 bus drivers this year.

"They're good jobs. Starting pay is nearly $18 an hour?and as they progress, they can make more than $25 dollars an hour," said Noelle Gaffney, CTA spokewoman.

From drivers to tech jobs.

In Naperville, a engineering firm is searching for workers interested in nuclear power plants.

Dozens of prospective employees showed up. And with the unemployment rate continuing to climb more and more workers will search for new opportunities.

Analysts say it could be two years at the earliest, before we notice any improvement for jobs.