Soaring unemployment hits Westchester
A new government report released Friday shows that 651,000 jobs were lost in February alone , bringing the national unemployment rate to 8.1 percent - a 26-year record.
The soaring joblessness has also hit Westchester. Many residents, who are among the 4.4 million people currently out of work nationwide, are struggling to find employment.
Ever sine her husband was laid off in January, Khara Jones has been a regular visitor to the Career Center on South Broadway in Yonkers.
The center, which was created as a joint venture of the City of Yonkers and the state Department of Labor, has been seeing about 500 new job seekers every week in addition to some 5,000 cases already in the center's database. The services provided at the help center include assistance with job searches, resumes and career counseling.
Carol Holman, the employment specialist helping Jones, says in the current economic climate, it is hard to keep clients optimistic.
"People are devastated, but we try to give them hope," Holman says.
Margaret Herrera, who manages the job program at the center, says the Department of Labor has projected that four out of five customers will not be able to find a job quickly.
However, New York Sen. Charles Schumer says he believes President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package will soon start working.
"The president, I think has the right idea, and now Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate should pull together and get behind him," Schumer says.
Jones is keeping a positive outlook, although the job search can sometimes be frustrating.
"You put in your paperwork, and then you find out that those positions really don't exist," Jones says. "That kind of becomes a little discouraging."