News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hennes Paynter Communications

Wayside Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Ohio


One Ohioan's experience with long-term unemployment
Lena Rouse says it's not for lack of trying to find work
Story by TOM BORGERDING


 
Congress continues to debate the extension of unemployment benefits that ran out in December.
Courtesy of Wikimedia
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Ohio jobless numbers will be released later this week. But, some of the people who have been out of work for a long time are facing hard life choices since their unemployment benefits ran out at the end of December. From Ohio Public Radio member station WOSU, Tom Borgerding reports on an Ohio woman caught in a financial vise grip.
LISTEN: The long search and struggle

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:14)


As I arrived at her home, 43-year-old Lena Rouse had arranged her laptop and phone on a living room coffee table. She explains she often “tweaks” her resume.

Before the Great Recession, Rouse worked for 19 years in banking and financial services. Since then she’s twice been unemployed for long periods, including all of 2013. But, that was not for lack of searching for a new job. 

“It’s a lot of rejection,” says Rouse. 

The last check and dwindling options
Rouse is among the long-term unemployed in Ohio. During the 13 months she’s been looking for a new job, she received unemployment benefits.  But, her last check arrived three weeks ago, on Dec. 28. And it’s uncertain when or if Congress will renew those benefits. 

“I have zero income right now, zero,” says Rouse. “So, this is the first month things haven’t been paid yet. Plus I’ve been approved for Medicaid and, well, that’s humbling, really, to have to, to have go that route.”

During her first lengthy period of unemployment, Rouse says she couldn’t pay anyone to read her resume. She went back to school, earned a second masters degree in information systems management. That helped her get a full-time job in her field as a project worker. But, she was laid off again at the end of 2012 and has since been actively looking for work. That’s a requirement for anyone receiving jobless benefits and it’s why Rouse bristles at late night characterizations of people who are unemployed

Out of touch
“They’re out of touch with reality. … I want to work, and I want to grow. And I really want to contribute and build a career, and it’s been difficult,” says Rouse. 

Rouse is among 1.3 million Americans who lost jobless benefits at the end of December. But, Ben Johnson at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the state does not keep count of the number of Ohioans included in that figure. 

“It’s not something that our regular employment data quantifies,” says Johnson.

One concern among economists is whether more of the long-term unemployed will quit looking for work and drop out of the labor force. Rouse says that’s not an option for her. After a year without a job, she has run out of financial options.

“Between Christmas money from last year to tax returns and selling some jewelry and cashing out my small 401K from my last full time job, I’ve been able to kind of squeak on by, oh and Christmas money from this year. Now I’ve hit that point where the cash flow has stopped,” she says. 

Heading to another state?
And without any cash flow, Rouse says it’s more difficult to stay marketable. Within weeks, she could face what she calls the most difficult decision.

“I’m going to have to strongly consider getting rid of my stuff and maybe moving in with family or something along those lines.”

Rouse vows to keep looking for a job. Though she’d prefer to stay in Columbus, She’s begun sending resumes to companies in San Antonio and Phoenix among other cities.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Stories with Recent Comments

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

New book says Willoughby Coal is haunted...and that's good for business
Would love to see a series of books that would just thrill me. I cannot wait to visit some of the locations. And revisit some of the locations I have already vi...

Cleveland Indians to continue with 'dynamic pricing'
pricing is too high for a family as well as people like me who are on a fixed income. Bleacher seats are cheaper but concessions are rediculous.

Kasich talks about faith, drugs and education -- but never FitzGerald
The idea that you can learn more by talking to a 90 year old person than from a history book is just another example of how the GOP hates education and knowledg...

Third-grade charter school students fail state testing
A partisan anti-charter group came out with analysis that ODE says is based on incorrect data. So why is this a story? It doesn't seem to rise to WKSU's typic...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University