Joe Sangataldo, 54, of Vineland, N.J., is healthy and eager to work, making his grinding two-year job hunt even more frustrating. Sangataldo says he was more selective when he first lost his job — as an unemployment office worker who monitored benefit recipients' job searches — in October 2010. "You try to avoid taking the worst job in the world while you have the time to shop for maybe a new career," says Sangataldo, who recently got an associate degree in accounting to go along with a bachelor's in human resources.
But his search for civil-service jobs proved fruitless. He lived off jobless benefits for about 21 months until the $407 weekly check stopped July 7. Sangataldo has sought jobs as a front-desk clerk in Atlantic City, a server at a cookie stand, and a bathroom janitor. With Vineland area unemployment at 13%, he still has come up empty.
Sangataldo, who is single and lives in his deceased mother's house with no mortgage, has applied for food stamps and will seek Medicaid. He plans to sell many of his and his mother's clothes at a yard sale.