Report: Jobless rate hits 7.2% in Dec.; 16-year high

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Hudson Valley residents and people throughout the United States were reeling Friday from the Labor Department?s latest report, which stated that the nation's unemployment rate reached 7.2 percent in December, its highest level in 16 years.

Kevin Vila, of Suffern, is one of 2.6 million people who lost their job in 2008. For the past year, Vila has been struggling to find a new job as a medical assistant.

"It's a day-to-day thing," he says. "Just do your best and search the wanted ads, search the Internet, trying to network with people that you know."

Berline Appolon was laid off a few months ago, and now she is doing her best to get by.

"It?s very slow, the economy's really bad right now, nobody can find a job," Appolon says. "It?s really bad, so I'm just looking for a job, and it's very difficult for me right now."

Jennifer DeLeon, executive director of Tomorrow's Workplace, an employment resource center in Spring Valley, says she has seen an influx in clients, but job openings are difficult to come by.

"We're very busy, we have back-to-back appointments," DeLeon says. "All of our staff[ers] are continually meeting with people, and we're challenged with helping them find the right job for them."

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