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


Hennes Paynter Communications

The Holden Arboretum

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

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

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


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


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

Great Lakes conference considers a range of threats
Your article states "Studies discovered over half of all PAHs found in the Great Lakes region come from a single source: Coal tar sealants.". I'm curious to whi...

ODOT awards Kent-based Davey Research Group nearly $50,000 to improve highway landscapes
This is an outrageous waste of taxpayer's money. Good for only Davey Tree and their cronies in the State government. It takes $50k to figure out the way to save...

Canton: another Northeast Ohio city is planning its comeback
Historic Ridgewood and the Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority have no seats at the table. Very flawed right out of the gate. Ridgewood pays a huge percentage...

Property owners oppose a wind farm in Northern Ohio
Here is a link, exposing the connivance of the fossil fuel industry, in trying to prevent us from moving away from their outdated, filthy, and expensive forms o...

A new industry in Ohio aims to repurpose river sediment
and where do those PCB's end up??the story never says

A safe space: How Northeast Ohio colleges try to fight sexual assault
Very good and thorough job on a very sensitive topic!

Copyright © 2015 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