Patricia Denig, the county's director of employment training, puts that in perspective. "What used to be a six-week norm for someone to find new employment four or five years ago has stretched out from three months to six months, then from six to twelve months, and now it often takes longer than a year." Or, for Gillespie, longer than three years.
That's the bad news: though many unemployed people are coming back into the working world, others are left outside looking in. What follows is a look at how three locals who lost jobs in the recession are faring.
"Things are looking up," Denig says. "Local businesses are hiring. IT, like Barracuda [Networks], is hiring programmers. Walgreens is hiring specialty call technicians. ProQuest on Eisenhower is hiring. A123 Systems, the green technology battery company headquartered in Ann Arbor, is hiring. And the auto industry is hiring again like ACH, Automotive Components Holdings, in the old Ford plant off 94. Automobile manufacturers' inventories are depleted, and it's the same in other industries."
This doesn't mean people can expect to find a new job in the same field as their old job. Changing careers is almost mandatory.