"Unemployment Blues" Part 1

By: Kristy Wolski Email
By: Kristy Wolski Email

The unemployment rate in Bay County was at 5.6 percent for September. While that's below the state average, for those who've been laid off and are struggling to find a job, it's just not a good situation.

For two years Michael Gunn was the director of marketing for the NASCAR track in Atlanta. When he was laid off two months ago he moved back to his hometown, Panama City. Gunn's a Florida State University graduate with a diverse career background, but that hasn't helped with his job search.

"It's extremely difficult. I've put in probably 300, 400 resumes within the last month or two that I've been here, and very few phone calls, very few responses. Even the follow-up, it is just extremely difficult," said Michael Gunn.

Gunn turned to the Gulf Coast Work Force Center for help. So did more than 3,700 others in September, and that number of job seekers is up from about 2000 a year ago.

"Our job seekers are so diverse. We have positions for our job seekers that have the qualifications for a receptionist position, cooks position, all the way up to doctors, RNs, program manager, computer analyst. We have the full range of job opportunities on our Web site," said Susan Senkle, Work Force Center Employment Representative.

At the Work Force Center, job seekers can get resume help, find out what jobs are available in the area, and apply for those openings online.

Representatives say normally the center is very successful, but these days the job market is just brutal. In the past the holiday season at least provided some temporary retail jobs, but Work Force reps say that probably won't be the case this year.

"I think companies are taking precautionary steps in some of the not filling jobs that are being left through attrition. They're just sort of keeping a handle on the number of employees that they're hiring. I think it's going to be a tough season for a lot of folks," said Kim Bodine, Work Force Board Executive Director.

Gunn knows just how tough the season will be.

"It's gotten to the point where I'm having to borrow money from friends and family just to make sure I get my bills paid that need to be paid to keep the lights on and to keep the family as a unit, because all of us are just a click away from being at the rescue mission ourselves," said Gunn.

Gunn is just one example of so many people in our community struggling with unemployment, even those of us who do have a job often wonder if it could happen to us.

You just never know when your company could decide to make drastic cuts, but we with a local economist who says there are tell-tale signs that your job could be on the chopping block. Thursday night we'll tell you what those signs are in part 2 of the "Unemployment Blues."

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