Some New Mexico job seekers still struggling to find work

Unemployment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As businesses struggle to find workers, some job seekers complain they’re still having a hard time finding work. This is the case for Albuquerque resident Jerri Lee.

“My background is in hospitality,” said Lee. “I’ve done housekeeping for about 14-15 years and I love it.”

When the pandemic hit, that work came to a halt. Lee’s longtime job at a bed-and-breakfast was cut short.

“There was hardly any work for me to do,” said Lee. “Then, my autoimmune issues made it even harder because I couldn’t hardly be around anyone.”

Since then, she spends each day on sites like Craigslist, looking for positions she has experience om like housekeeping, mechanics, and cashiering. However, even then, Lee says she rarely hears back and if she does, the response is unclear. We asked if any of the companies got back to her or offered a job or interview.

“One company, in particular, does a text back and as soon as I applied with my application, they texted me and I replied and they actually said, ‘who is this?'” said Lee. “That just took me aback because companies should know who they’re contacting.”

The single mom says she has to look for part-time work on weekends and at night, since her child – who just finished virtual learning – is too young to be alone, but too old for daycare. Lee says she wishes others understood that not every unemployment situation is alike.

“Hearsay that people just want to stay home and that they don’t want to be on, they don’t want a job, that they want to be on unemployment, and I think that’s false,” said Lee. “Not everyone is the same.”

Now, she’s creating her own cleaning business to supplement some income, but it’s still not enough to survive on. Until she lands the right job, Lee says she’ll keep searching.

The state’s Workforce Solutions Department has lately seen problems on both sides of unemployment, including overpaying about $250 million in benefits, as well as lawsuits from some, claiming they were denied the chance for federal benefits. Lee says she was able to get unemployment benefits but was denied assistance for the self-owned businesses she recently started.

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