Long Term Unemployed Have Trouble Landing Jobs

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nearly six million Americans are classified as long term unemployed even though the recession is officially over. People continue to struggle.

They're moving in with their parents, taking part time jobs and doing anything to stay afloat financially.

FOX 4 talked to three intelligent, college-educated professionals who have a lot in common. They each lost their dream jobs a long time ago and the "long term" job seekers are still looking for work.

"I was gonna use the library today for some job search things," Hazleton said.

After just one year, in 2007,  his position was eliminated. He sold his home and moved into an apartment so he and his family could survive.

"I was a legal recruiter for a while and i worked at a funeral home and cemetery as a family service counselor," he said.

For the last four years, the 45-year-old seasoned attorney, husband, and father of two young boys , who also has a master's in health administration and two years of med school under his belt.

"It's frustrating," he said. "I mean, I've got my kids. I like providing for. I love my children. I love my wife."

Marlene Donelson is a teacher looking for work. It's been more than a year since 56-year-old Donnelson, lost her job as a math and science teacher with Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools.

"I thought maybe I could just go out and you know and it wouldn't be as difficult to find a job," Donnelson said.

But, she has yet to find a job, despite her 30 years of experience, and bachelor's degree in education. Moreover, she has custody of her three grandchildren, and she struggles to provide for them.

"It's been pretty tough," Donnelson said. "I do have some help with family members. I've moved in with a family member."

Steve Macey is a social worker looking for work.

"It's very difficult," Macey said. "I'm 55-years-old and I haven't lived with my mom since I was 20."

After losing his job in March of 2011, Macey temporarily left his wife and home in Springfield, Missouri and moved in with his mother in Olathe.

He, like Marlene and Peter have put in hundreds of resumes, made countless phone calls, gone on interviews and  searched website after website, but,  still cannot find a job in their  area of expertise.

"Yr ego's hurt a little bit and the self-esteem can be down if you let it, but that's just one of the things," Macey said. "You have to fight to stay positive."

These three metro area professionals are highly educated, highly experienced and for a long time now, highly unemployed. They're what some researchers call the new unemployed in America.

Currently, it's estimated there are roughly two million Americans, over 35, who have at least a bachelor's degree and are unemployed. What's more, statistics show, the unemployment rate among workers with at least a college degree, is the highest it's been since the U.S. Bureau of Labor started tracking such data in 1970.

During this down economy, career centers in Missouri and Kansas are seeing more men and women, with college degrees, turn to their agencies for help.

"Over the last three years, we've seen our customer base grow more educated, tend to be a little older," said Ex. director at Workforce Partnership Scott Anglemyer.

William Black is an associate economics and law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He says while some economists insist the recession of 2008 is over, the nation is still feeling the lingering effects. What's
equally disturbing,  professor Black says  don't expect to see a rapid recovery any time soon.

"It's common, millions of people losing their jobs for over a year and a half, and, that is close to unprecedented in modern U.S. History," said Prof. William Black with UMKC.

Amid their frustration and anxiety, what do these three long term job seekers do? They keep cutting back, keep job hunting and try to keep the faith for a new job before their unemployment benefits run out.

Marlene recently returned to school while Steve and Peter are still looking.

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