Despite positive jobs report, some unemployed "starting over" to find work

(CBS News) The jobs report out Friday beat expectations. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6 percent and employers added 195,000 new jobs last month.

But life is still tough for those without work.

William Borders, Jr., is hoping to land his first job in more than two years. The former real estate broker and financial advisor is now training to be a bus driver in Los Angeles.

Asked by CBS News if he ever expected himself to be training to drive a bus, Borders said no.

"That was so far from my mind in terms of employment," he said.

When asked how badly he needed the job, Borders said: "I need it badly. I want it very badly."

Most of the new jobs added to the economy are in industries such as hospitality, retail and health care. Many are part time. And the struggle remains for the long-term unemployed -- the 4.3 million Americans without work for more than 27 weeks.

It's been tough for job seekers like Borders to keep up the search.

"There were periods that I stopped because I thought, 'Well, maybe there just aren't any jobs out there,'" Borders said. "I stopped one time for almost six months and then I said, 'You know I can't keep doing this. I got to work.'"

Discouraged workers like Borders re-entering the job market is partly why the unemployment rate is unchanged.

"The reason that it held steady was that we created jobs, but we also had a lot more people looking for work. And that's a positive," said economist Gus Faucher. "It indicates that people are more encouraged about the labor market, so they're going out and looking for jobs."

Borders just completed the first part of his bus training, a program he found through WorkSource California. If he finishes the second part, he may be hired by the end of the month.

"I do feel like I'm starting over," Borders said.

"My understanding here is that the CEO of the company -- he was a bus driver at one time -- and now he's the CEO. So if that's not inspiration for anyone," he laughed, "I'm looking forward to driving a bus."

The economy has now added private sector jobs for 40 straight months, but there's a long way to go before the U.S. reaches the pre-recession unemployment rate of five percent.

At the current pace of job growth, Faucher said, it could take three to four years to get there.

  • Ben Tracy

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