Job Seekers Increasingly Desperate

Job seekers stand in line at a job fair. Increasingly, Americans are giving up on finding good, full-time jobs and seeking even part-time or temporary work, but even then, the competition remains fierce.
CBS
For many of the recently unemployed, the opportunities seem very limited these days, and the fear is growing that their former jobs are gone for good. All that means that any job opening - however unlikely - is drawing a crowd, reports CBS News correspondent Priya David.

The recent long lines in White Plains, N.Y., may have made you think of a sell-out concert. But these days the hottest show in town is a job fair.

The Labor Department reports losses in almost every sector. Just last month, professional and business services lost 180,000 jobs. The manufacturing sector lost 168,000. Construction lost 104,000.

And many of those jobs may be gone for good.

"In a recession, when you lose jobs and then regain jobs, the jobs don't reappear necessarily where they were -- in the same firms, the same occupations, the same locations," says Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute.

Mishel is among economists who predict that unemployment nationally could jump up another two points to more than 10 percent.

As full time work melts away, thousands are turning to part-time jobs instead. New York's Rye Playland amusement park is deserted in the winter, but it's hiring right now for 1,200 summer jobs usually held by teenagers.

This year it's drawing somewhat older and more diverse crowd of job seekers, like Leonard Mayer, who recently lost his teaching job at a community college.

"Every time I meet somebody, I ask them, 'How did you get your job?' or 'What leads have you followed?'" he says. "I've tried to get information by networking."

"So many people are unemployed of all different ages, you know, which is amazing, for this type of work," said Anita Bowman, the mother of job seeker at the Playland job fair. "People are taking whatever they can get."

It's a pattern being repeated across the nation - for four unemployed people, there's only one job open.

Phyliss Burchfield is looking for a manufacturing job in Georgia.

"I just take it one day at a time, put in applications, and just hope my phone starts ringing," she says.

But economists say the type of work she wants may not return, even if the economy recovers.

"We may be disassembling our ability to be a manufacturing nation right now," Mishel says. "And I find that of great concern."

The recession job search is like a game of musical chairs with few seats, leaving many Americans unemployed for a very long time.