A Sign Of The Times For Job Hunters

The nation's unemployment rate for March comes out this week and as CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, most economists expect it to keep rising.

The rate in California is already at 10.5 percent, the highest in 26 years. And in that abysmal job market, Blackstone found one job-hunter whose medium is his message.

Along a busy street in Southern California Mat Richter is holding a sign of the times. With sharply rising unemployment he's taking job hunting to the extreme.

"I'm not desperate, I'm determined," Richter says. "I've got a lot to offer and I'm looking for the right job."

Some of the points on his resume: a former marine, a Sunday school teacher, a father of seven.

His expertise is marketing and advertising.

"If it's been printed, I've designed it and produced it," Richter says.

What he's marketing now is himself.

Economists say the challenge for people like Richter is that even if the economy improves, jobs could still be hard to find. That's because job recovery tends to lag behind the overall economic recovery, Blackstone reports.

"With respect to unemployment, that typically continues to grow after the downturn for a while until firms feel confident about hiring employees," says UCLA Anderson School of Management professor Jerry Nicklesburg.

Richter figures at least he's got an edge.

"The poor people who stand there at a job fair are looking at hundreds of people a day," he says. "Now I've got hundreds of people a day looking at me, complete reversal."

And a few do respond.

"If you want to put an application, send me an email once you've done that and we'll be in touch," said Assad Choudry, who stopped to talk with Richter.

Others note Richter's number and give him a call of encouragement.

"Wish you the best of luck," said one caller.

"That is awesome, you're an ad guy and you made the ultimate marketing scheme for yourself," said another.

"I thought I'd let you know that you and your family are in my prayers," another caller said. "God bless you."

"Some days it's hard to get up and go out there," Richter said. "But when you get that kind of feedback for your efforts it makes you want to go out and do it."

He's certain an opportunity is just around the corner, Blackstone reports, and is driving his way.
By John Blackstone

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.