But when the coronavirus pandemic forced the city to shut down this spring, she lost both her job as an executive assistant at a slot machine manufacturer and a gig as a guitarist at local performances.
Though she scans the job postings daily and has applied for dozens of roles, she has not been hired. The closest she got was the final stage for a position at another slot machine company last month, but she wasn’t selected. Gryczon is also trying to leverage a real estate license she got nearly two decades ago into a full-time career.
“The crazy thing is I have an excellent resume and many years of very good work experience as a loyal, hardworking professional with recommendation letters, as well,” said Gryczon, who is surviving on savings and her husband’s income as a corporate sound designer after her $423 in weekly unemployment payments ran out. “I just hope things start turning around and jobs start coming open again.”
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the ranks of the long-term unemployed like Gryczon are soaring.
Still, nationwide, there were about 10 million fewer jobs in October than in February. And among the 11 million Americans who remain unemployed, the median duration of joblessness was 19.3 weeks in October. It has steadily ticked up since the pandemic began.
That’s worrisome because those who lost their jobs months ago may suffer from an unemployment stigma, even though layoffs were widespread and were largely spurred by state-ordered lockdowns, said Kate Bahn, director of labor market policy for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
“It’s going to be harder to get those people back to work,” Bahn said, noting that they may be forced to take risky jobs that pay less or they may drop out of the labor market completely.
Most of the long-term unemployed can then access their state’s extended benefit program, which can provide up to 20 additional weeks of payments in times of high unemployment, depending on the state. Roughly 573,000 laid-off workers were collecting these payments in mid-October, up from 343,000 a month prior. But this program is ending in states where labor markets are improving more quickly, including Alabama, Missouri and Nebraska.
He was laid off from his post as a video art director for a fashion brand in late March but received three months of severance. He’s now down to his last few weeks of state unemployment benefits, which provide him with $504 a week, and has run through his savings to support himself and his 11-year-old daughter.
Anderson said he has applied to a variety of jobs on LinkedIn but has found that as soon as a listing appears, scores of people file applications within minutes. He had a few interviews earlier in the year, but has had fewer bites since.
“The job market is flooded, super-competitive,” Anderson said. “Companies are definitely holding back on positions that they let go.”
“I feel sort of forgotten,” said Anderson, 47, who lives in Red Bank, New Jersey.