On Labor Day, one Tucsonan wishes he could find a job - any job
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Not everyone is celebrating Labor Day. For one Tucsonan, this holiday is a reminder of how tough it has been to find a job and the unemployment struggles that lie ahead.
“[My wife and I] apply for me to dozens and dozens of jobs everyday, but you don’t hear the phone ringing,” said David Christensen laughing.
But deep down, it’s hard for the 36-year-old to see the humor in his situation. Even though he has an MBA and 20 years of experience in the business world, Christensen was laid off from his human resources position six months ago by his employer who had to file for bankruptcy.
“I have learned a great deal. I used to be one of those people who said, ‘Just get a job. Go out and do something.’ But it’s not really reasonable in some situations,” Christensen said. “I’ve always been able to support my family and it’s been humbling to have to rely on other people.”
Christensen said he has sent out thousands of resumes, even for out-of-state jobs. He even tried to take on a newspaper route, but his car’s lack of gas efficiency wasn’t good enough to turn a profit.
“The smaller companies don’t want to hire me because they figure I’m going to jump ship as soon as something better comes along and the bigger companies take a lifetime to get around to hiring,” Christensen said, adding that he’s considering taking the MBA off his resume to better his chances at entry-level jobs.
His five-member family struggles everyday to survive on his weekly unemployment check relying on church to help pay for their mortgage and family for hand-me-down clothing. Christensen said they rely on food stamps and the state for healthcare benefits but it is still difficult to stay afloat.
“I’m not picky by any means. I have not turned anything down. I just have not been offered anything,” Christensen said.
Christensen is not alone. Arizona’s unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent. And even those who get unemployment benefits are struggling, with the state limiting checks to $240 per week. Only Mississippi has a lower state cap.