Detroit Free Press: Jobs in Michigan: Hunt for work is an endurance test

March 27, 2011- When Tim Zaneske lost his information technology job in June 2009, he never dreamed that he would be unemployed for months and months and months.

Today, nearly two years later, the Flushing Township resident is still looking for permanent work. His lengthy job search has taken its toll, forcing the father of two young children to file for bankruptcy. Last month, Zaneske finally got some relief: a part-time contract job.

"You get job leads, but nine times out of 10, it's nothing," the 44-year-old said. "It's beyond frustrating."

Last year, 36% of Michigan's 590,000 unemployed workers had been searching for a job for a year or longer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was the third-highest rate in the country, behind only New Jersey and Georgia.

Though the state's job market is improving, economists expect long-term unemployment to remain a huge problem because it will take years to recoup the millions of jobs that were lost during the recession.

The grim outlook comes amid cutbacks for job retraining programs such as Michigan's No Worker Left Behind. "You have an economy without a lot of safety nets," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial.


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