Out Of Work

They started careers and families, planned weddings and retirements -- then came the economic crisis

Sun Special Report

November 09, 2008|By Lorraine Mirabella and Scott Calvert | Lorraine Mirabella and Scott Calvert,lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com and scott.calvert@baltsun.com

It can be devastating to lose a job, whenever it happens. But the growing numbers of the unemployed in today's economy are facing some tough challenges getting their lives back on track.

In Maryland and across the country, thousands of families are feeling the pain of job losses.

Crises in housing, credit and the financial arena have forced companies to trim work forces or freeze hiring, leaving few industries untouched. And the employment outlook appears bleak.

About 10.1 million people were unemployed nationwide in October. The jobless rate shot up to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent - overtaking a peak reached in the 2001 recession, according to statistics released Friday. And the worse-than-expected numbers followed dismal retail and automobile sales reports last week.

Maryland has fared better than the nation as a whole. Still, workers in the state with an array of experience levels and specialties have been hurt by the economic slowdown, in industries such as construction, manufacturing, information technology, biotech and sales.

Among them: Dennis Bolen, a 32-year-old father of two laid off by a home builder, who wonders how he and his wife will pay tuition and day care expenses. Edith Johns, a 55-year-old single woman and homeowner, who has run out of unemployment insurance and has no health coverage. And Holly Beatty, 34, who lost her job just three weeks before her wedding.

To cope, Marylanders are dipping into savings, stretching credit, cutting spending and counting on relatives for help. Inside, we tell the stories of seven people who have unexpectedly found themselves in the job market.

7 STORIES: Marylanders describe hopes, hardships.

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