Valley Works: Unemployment

FRESNO, California

But analyst say those numbers don't reflect the true unemployment picture.So why are so many people out of work?

When the government compiles its unemployment numbers it doesn't include people who have been out of work so long they are no longer getting benefits. Those who work part time are also not counted as being part of the labor force. When you combine those numbers it's about 9.5 million people who are struggling to get by.

If you want to see Joanna Fishkin smile just ask her about the job she had tutoring kids in an after school program

"We had a blast, a blast and my class was very popular," Fishkin said "It is a part time job only and today is the last day."

Fishkin, worked as a case manager for 16 years before losing her job in 2010.For about two years she has struggled to find full time work.

Lorraine Shenefield worked as a recruiter for a major hospital before she was laid off. Just like Joanne, Lorraine has been out of work for so long she's is no longer considered to be an official member of the labor force. People whose unemployment benefits have run out or who work part time aren't counted in the monthly unemployment statistics, for them there is no economic recovery.

"How they say more people are getting hired yet unemployment is down and I see so many people in such a desperate situation," Lorraine said.

With so many unemployed it is desperate times for many people.

"When your unemployment check runs out that's when I start living off my 401 K, now that I only have 150 dollars left in my bank it's scary," Joanna said."It's tough when people are harsh when they make judgment because they don't think you're looking hard enough. I do work hard enough."

But the fact is, the longer people stay unemployed the harder it is to get a job.

"I think what I see are people giving up. It's just been so long they just give up and that's the sad thing," Lorraine said.

But Lorraine and Joanna refuse to give up.

"I have to be hopeful, if I'm not hopeful then I give up and giving up is not an option," said Joanna.

If people like Joanna and Lorraine were counted in the unemployment numbers the true unemployment rate would be more like 14 percent instead of the 7.6 percent.

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