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unemployment300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 6:28pm.

The national unemployment rate has hit a 14 year high at 6.5 percent. There are now 10 million unemployed people in the country. Locally, the numbers are following a similar trend and unemployment agencies are having a hard time meeting the demand. In New Hanover County, in September, the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent; Almost 6,000 people were unemployed, and JobLink employees expect that number to be up for October. Michael Lunsford was laid off from his delivery job in Wilmington two weeks ago. “It was staggering, it caught me off guard. I put all myself into that job. It was surprising, it kind of hurt, it really did,” he said. Many others are in the same boat. At the JobLink Center in Wilmington the lines are long. JobLink usually sees about 200 people a week. This week they saw 500. JobLink manager, Walker Biggs, said, "There will be an increase just because of the increase in traffic we're seeing in here locally." The non-profit, Phoenix Employment Ministry, is at max capacity and had to turn 30 people away last month. Michael was able to get help from Phoenix and is now searching for his next ideal job. "We're going to find you not just a job, but a job that you like to do something. That gets you up to go to that job and you’re just raring and ready to go," he said. Phoenix Employment gave him a personality test. It reaffirmed his passion for cooking. With help, he tailored his resume to apply for a line cook position in Carolina Beach and already has had an interview. "I'm hoping for that job at the Marriot. I really want to work there. It gives me a chance to show my skills in the kitchen,” said Lunsford. If you are still looking for work, Lunsford has some advice: "Be patient, be persistent and be positive. There's job out there." Phoenix Employment Ministry runs on donations, and donations are down when their services are needed most.

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