Local family coping with unemployment

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - New unemployment numbers released Friday are not encouraging.

The national jobless rate rose to just over 10 percent last month -- the highest level since the 1980s. While Virginia's rate is slightly lower -- many central Virginians continue to struggle.

As of September, Virginia's unemployment rate stood at 6.6 percent.

One Henrico man has been out of a job almost a year now and he's not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

"I'd been doing good for ten years so yeah this is a shock for me," said Chris Batty.

When Qimonda shut down operations, Batty joined the millions of Americans having to rely on unemployment dollars to help make ends meet while trying to return to the workforce. But Chris says it's proven to be a lot more difficult than he anticipated.

"I thought with my experience I would find a job really soon I thought three months okay, but it's like the lottery nobody even reads your resume anymore," said Batty.

The Batty's created an internet jewelry business on the side, but mostly for charity. At one point Chris' wife, Michelle, a Henrico instructional assistant, took on a second job.

"For a little bit of money it's hard," said Michelle Batty.

The nation hasn't seen double digit unemployment levels in 26 years. Here in Virginia, the jobless rate was 6.6 percent in September compared to just over 4 percent the same time last year.

"We're all going down together everybody can relate if you can't afford to grocery shop so many other people can't too," Michelle said.

In August the Virginia Employment Commission opened additional centers to help connect people with jobs. Chris says he's applied for at least 100 positions.

"Right now, I don't have any positive outlook I might have to move that might be my only opportunity," said Batty.

Nationwide, there are six unemployed people for every job opening.

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