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NJ Job Seekers Experience Hostile Market [AUDIO]

Many New Jersey residents are having a tough time in the state’s job market.

William Andrew, Getty Images

A job fair in Somerset on Tuesday, sponsored by Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset), featured more than 50 companies in attendance. Though turnout was good, several job seekers said their search has been lousy.

“I was an IT professional for over 20 years,” said a woman who has been unemployed for two years. “I was let go due to corporate downsizing, which seems to be the norm in this state.”

She said being out of work has caused her to lose control of her mortgage, and dip into her IRA to pay for health care and other expenses.

Another former IT manager said, while he is able to find work in consulting and temporary projects, full-time work “seems to be non-existent right now, or much more difficult than it was three, four years ago.”

Both job seekers have received offers outside of New Jersey, including Kentucky, Michigan, Georgia, and the Carolinas. While both said they will ultimately have to go to those places if prospects don’t improve, they admitted it’s not an easy decision.

“I live in New Jersey, I own a home in New Jersey, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a good future for me here,” the woman said.

Both also pointed to age discrimination as a real concern. However, the former IT manager said it ultimately comes down to cost .

“I’m not so concerned about the younger part about it, but they’re definitely looking for the cheaper,” he said. “That, I see constantly.”

However, younger people are also struggling in the job market, many fighting for entry-level jobs against more seasoned applicants.

“Everybody is posting these jobs and they want five-year experience or three-year experience under their belt,” said a young job seeker.

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