Inside the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance office on Florida Avenue, you will often find Barbara Slaughter sitting in front of a computer screen, her fingers typing away to find her next opportunity.
But those opportunities are unfortunately few and far between.
"It's very frustrating, very," she says.
She comes here nearly everyday. When she's not applying for jobs on line, she's searching for one in person.
"I walk for five, six hours sometimes, going door to door," she says.
She's been out of work, for about a year and a half. That's how long she's been in Florida. She had been a CNA in Illinois, but moved to the Sunshine State to be closer to her daughter and four grandkids.
Now as Christmas approaches, her budget is getting tighter and tighter.
"Instead of me spending maybe $100 on each one. I can only spend $20. That's how it goes," she says.
But it's also upsetting for this grandmother.
"My granddaughter said to me one day, we used to do this and we used to do that grandma, We can't do this and do that. Well I can't, it's over for me right now. maybe something will come through and I can," she said as she wiped away tears.
The holidays for the unemployed can be stressful. George Morongell has been out of work for almost one year, to the date. He was laid off from the airline industry and has been looking for a managerial job -- but with no luck.
"A lot of middle management and just managers in general, they're shrinking those as much as they can. And the people who are already employed at that company, they are the ones they're looking at first."
Morongell says he tries not to think of all the "no's" he gets.
"I try to look at everything like, life is not a Greek tragedy. It's just life, and you have to go on. Don't let it try to overwhelm you," he said.
New numbers just released show the number of people applying for unemployment benefits went up again for the 2nd straight week. Economists say not to be too concerned just yet, because data shows U.S. factories grew last month at the fastest pace seen since June.
Construction spending increased, and both retail sales and car sales went up in November.
Many believe while the job market is getting better, it's just at a very slow pace.
Barbara Slaughter says she may have to give serious consideration soon to moving back to Illinois if a job doesn't come soon.
For now, Christmas will be smaller than normal. But maybe it'll be more meaningful.
"It won't be what I want to give them. But it will be something from me," she said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?