The Unemployment Rollercoaster in the Bronx

By Yekania Herrand

“It’s really hard,” cried July Santana, referring to raising her children and being unemployed. Santana is married to, Alberto Sanchez, who maintains the family but since she’s unemployed she says she has to deal with having “less income and fewer vacations.”

Many people in Bedford Park are struggling with being jobless and still having to provide for themselves as well as their families. Part of the problem is not having enough education to get a job and/or not enough businesses to hire people.

Genesis Hair Stylist Salon (Photo by Yekania Herrand)

Genesis Hair Stylist Salon
(Photo by Yekania Herrand)

July Santana was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States at the age of 14 with the goal of graduating high school and college. She studied to be a dialysis technician and received her associate’s degree. Later on in life she realized that being a dialysis technician did not interest her anymore. “It’s something that I would not like to do again,” said Santana. She is unemployed and it has been that way for about 3 years now but she is supple to clean houses once in awhile and earn a couple of bucks.

An analyst with the New York State Department of Labor, James Brown, said “the Bronx has, historically, had a much higher unemployment rate than most of the other boroughs.”

The unemployment rate for the Bronx fluctuates all the time within the same year. According to homefacts, the unemployment rate in 2013 changed a lot. January’s rate was a 13.4%, in February it was a 12.5% and in March it decreased to a 11.6%.

Generally, New York State has always had a lower unemployment rate than Bronx itself. Between May and June 2013, New York State’s unemployment rate fell from 7.6% to 7.5%–the lowest it has been since February 2009–placing it below the national rate, according to preliminary figures released today by the State Department of Labor. (

There were many businesses that had to be shut down because of the recession. More than 170,000 small businesses in the United States closed between 2008 and 2010, according to huffingtonpost.

As you may know, a lot of businesses are struggling to keep up with the fierce competition of not being permanently closed. There were and still are a lot of businesses where many people had to be fired for different reasons. “The people used to come for satisfaction because it was a form of luxury,” said Maria Julio a 49-year old employee at Genesis Hair Stylist Salon, in Spanish. “Back then the salons used to be full of employees and people” added Julio in Spanish.

Chris G. Christopher Jr., a senior economist at IHS Global Insight, estimated that the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the April-June quarter and that growth would probably stay below 2 percent in both the third and fourth quarters. He goes on by adding that the biggest problem was meager job growth. (“Many people come for jobs but some of them don’t have enough education so we can’t hire them,” said Julio in Spanish referring to the Hispanics that regularly ask for jobs in Genesis Hair Stylist Salon.

When the Jerome Active Staff Services were contacted, they declined to give out any information and recommended an office in Manhattan instead.

Active Staffing Services (Photo by Yekania Herrand)

Active Staffing Services
(Photo by Yekania Herrand)

“All ethnicities” go to Manhattan’s Active Staffing Svc at 41 W 33rd St #3. “About 200 people ask for jobs daily,” said an employee that works for Active Staffing. No one is sure of what could be a possible solution for unemployment but many people have clues to what might be causing it. “Lack of education and economy,” said an employee that works for Manhattan’s Active Staffing.


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