As a demoralizing jobs report was made public on Friday, job-seekers in Queens returned to the same grind that many have been at for months: pounding the pavement.
The U.S. Department of Labor revealed that just 18,000 jobs had been created across the country in June, giving the unemployment rate a slight bump to 9.2 percent.
In Queens, out-of-work residents are trying their hardest to make ends meet, but for many, a disappointing job-growth report is just piece of gloom in a continuing struggle.
Johnny Pacheco, 35, said he’s been out of work since Halloween, and had only been able to nail down a series of impermanent odd jobs since then. He moved back to New York from Texas in 2008.
“This city takes no prisoners,” Pacheco said. “I used to just walk into a place down in Texas and they’d hire me on the spot.”
Pacheco had been working at a New York Sports Club on Wall Street in Manhattan before he lost his job.
“I’m trying to get into some computer classes now, anything that will help,” he added. “But I need a job to get at least a cell phone and a computer to begin with. It’s hard to do on $7.50 an hour.”
Marie Kadin and MaryAnn Minore were both laid off from a DHL distribution center in April. Both had worked in the same job for more than two decades. They said their search is made more difficult by what they perceive as an inevitable bias against older, unemployed job-seekers.
“It’s very hard when you’re over 60, nobody wants us,” Kadin said. “We’ve just been leaving resumes, that’s it. You get no reply.”
Minore said that the search has been grueling since April.
“It’s like you’re an outcast, that’s how you feel,” she said. “It sucks.”
Kadin, whose son is also unemployed, echoed the sentiment. “We’ve been working all our lives, and now we’ve got nothing.”
Even students looking for summer jobs, like 17-year-old Keyon Hunter, said they haven’t gotten so much as a phone call or second look since their search started when school let out.
Richard Pam, 51, who lost his job as a machinist four weeks ago, said that without computer skills, job-seeking has become almost impossible.
“You’ve gotta e-mail stuff out to everyone now, and I have no idea,” he said. “These kind of things are important.”
Pam waxed philosophical about the loss of his job, admitting that at first he wasn’t worried, but as the days began to drag on, he started to lose heart.
“I was sitting at home for a while, and I took it as a vacation,” he said. “Things in motion though, tend to stay in motion. Things at rest, they stay that way.”