ROCKVILLE CENTRE, New York — The latest monthly unemployment figures show the U.S. unemployment rate was steady at 8.2 percent. The economy had a net gain of 80,000 jobs for the month, leaving nearly 13 million people without work. Behind each of those statistics are stories about real people who are struggling to get by.
Robbyne Sudduth became a statistic - unemployed, homeless. Laid off from Xerox in 2007, she left Michigan and came to New York looking for work. “I was putting out resumes and doing what people do who have always been employed and nothing was coming through for me, she said. "And, I was running extremely low on cash, to the point that I had so much time I had stayed here I had maxed out my credit cards. “
After 40 days in this hotel her savings ran out. Robbyne moved into her car in the parking lot for 14 days. “The truth is..part of me thought I’d never get out of here," she said. "I just didn’t know how I’d get out.
Soon she moved into a shelter. She shared the home with 12 others - some who threatened suicide, others who abused their children. “It was literally exhausting at all times. I was exhausted so I sang a lot to myself, I hummed. And I stayed focused and I got out,“ she explained.
It took two years, five temporary shelters and lots of library research before landing a job and getting her own apartment.
“It’s..I’m just so grateful… having your own bed again… “What’s coming next..I don’t know what’s coming around the corner, but I do know that I’m going to remain confident in my ability," Sudduth announced.
The Hewlett-Packard commercial account manager has advice for the unemployed.
"Retool…whatever skills you need to gain every day, gain them every day. Whatever learning you need to do, continue to do that," Sudduth stated. "Rethink, don’t allow yourself to become discouraged and present yourself in the best light. So you got to believe in yourself first. And, don’t quit."
Sudduth wrote about her struggle to find work in her book, “The Journey.” While she found a job, millions of other Americans remain unemployed.