(Christian Science Monitor) — Nearly a year after she lost her job at an IT help desk, Michelle Chesney-Offutt got a call from a job recruiter. “They were very excited about getting me up for an interview,” she recalls. But at the end of the chat, the recruiter noticed she’d been out of work for more than six months. The firm would not consider hiring anyone who had been out of work that long. ”I was in shock, because that makes no sense,” says the Sandwich, Ill., resident. “I can understand why in times past that would be a good indication of a person’s work ethic, but in the current situation” it’s not. Still out of work two years later, Ms. Chesney-Offutt’s situation represents the economy’s Catch-22 for the unemployed: The longer they’re out of work, the harder it is to find a job. Now, some employers have added a twist: They won’t even consider hiring someone who doesn’t hold a job. As GOP presidential candidates trade jabs about who has created more jobs and President Obama prepares to unveil his new jobs plan, this discrimination threatens to make it harder for the unemployed – even those who have been out of work for only a few weeks – to get their careers back on track.
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