Christmas is less than a month away and the unemployed are gradually becoming anxious about how they will afford the expensive holidays. It seems that the holiday season is one of the most important times to be employed.

But with the increase in the unemployment rate, more families are struggling to get through the day without a steady income.

“Sometimes I feel like I am on a vacation, and then I realize this vacation has lasted over a year,” said Jason Cox, former employee of Jason’s Deli. “I sleep late, I play video games and I rarely ever need to keep track of time.”

According to a study done by the New York Times, on average, unemployed individuals get at least an hour more of sleep than those who are employed. While this may seem like a perk, it soon becomes quite a struggle when it’s time to scavenge savings just to pay the bills.

Cox once worked for a restaurant in Tyler, Jason’s Deli. After getting engaged and beginning to plan for his wedding, he realized he needed a steady, full-time job. However, being only a few college hours short of a degree he couldn’t find a good paying job that would hire him. With the beginning of a new semester, he found he couldn’t afford to finish the hours he needed toward a degree. A year later, he is still without a job and living off his savings.

Many unemployed workers find time to do yard work, chores around the house, and extra time to spend with family. Unfortunately, those types of “jobs” don’t receive any income.

“The only positive thing about not having a steady job is the extra amount of time I get to spend with my son,” said Cox.

Cox, like many others, is fortunate enough to find some type of job to do on the side while still looking for a full-time job. Odd jobs are readily available to individuals who search and advertise their services well.

“I get lucky and find yards to mow and recently began working on my own landscaping service for extra cash,” said Cox.

Karen Johnson, once a customer service manager for Boral Bricks, Inc, was laid off in October 2008. Once she saw her company posting significant layoffs, she realized her termination was a possibility. Immediately she began to live off of her savings and unemployment checks.

Even with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, it took her over a year to find a job. According to Johnson, she doesn’t think her holidays this year will be as bountiful as the past few years.

Individuals from all walks of life are finding themselves without jobs this holiday season. Graduates with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree find themselves in the same boat as a high school graduate or someone with an associate’s degree.

Also, at this time of year money is extra tight due to Christmas.

It is important to not panic when it comes to buying gifts. Almost everyone is tight on money and will continue to pinch pennies during the winter months, according to the Associated Press retail writer Anne D’innocenzio.

Unfortunately, it does not seem that the situation will be any better after the new year arrives in January. At the end of the hectic abundance of family and food, it is time to continue the job hunt right where it left off.

The United States Department of Labor’s October 2009 statistics for unemployment rose to 10.2 percent. This jobless rate is the highest the U.S. has seen in 26 years. Without consumer’s receiving an income to spend, the money cannot circulate back to government agencies or any other business. It is slowly becoming apparent that when the middle class suffers, the whole economy suffers.

“But history tells us that job growth always lags behind economic growth, which is why we have to continue to pursue measures that will create new jobs,” said President Barack Obama.

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