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Job Search Grows Long For Unemployed Oklahomans

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Unemployed machinist Robert Folkes spends a lot of time searching the web for job opportunities. Unemployed machinist Robert Folkes spends a lot of time searching the web for job opportunities.
The unemployment rate is the highest it has been since 1983. The unemployment rate is the highest it has been since 1983.

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- New unemployment numbers paint a bleak picture about the U.S. economy in crisis. The national unemployment rate has surpassed 10% for the first time in 26 years.

It's at 10.2% and is likely to go even higher.

Even though Oklahoma's rate is a little lower at 6.5 percent, it still means there are plenty of people looking for work.

Robert Folkes has spent a lot of time checking out job web sites and working on his resume. Since being laid off back in May, finding work as a machinist has been tough.

Folkes never thought he'd be an unemployment statistic - never wanted to be one, but he's among nearly 16 million people nationwide facing unemployment.

"Never drawn unemployment before. This is the first time I've done it," said Robert Folkes, an unemployed machinist.

With the jobless rate up to 10.2 percent, the highest unemployment rate since 1983, employers are still reluctant to hire.

One sign of how hard it still is to find a job: the number of Americans who have been out of work for six months or longer rose to 5.6 million, a record. That's a third of the people who are unemployed.

Robert Folkes is nearing that six-month mark. For now, Folkes is living on savings and unemployment and sending out resumes - seven this week alone.

"Hopefully the economy will pick back up here," Folkes said. "It seems like it's picking back up right now.

"I've got a good community around here, good support system so I'm keeping a positive attitude.  I'm hoping that things are going to turn around," said Robert Folkes, a machinist who has been unemployed for almost six months.

Congress and the President approved legislation this week extending jobless benefits for the fourth time since the recession began.  It adds up to 20 extra weeks of aid and is intended to prevent almost two million recipients from running out of unemployment insurance during the upcoming holiday season.

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