From Assistant Estimator to Bus Driver

An assistant estimator for a commercial construction contractor, Ortiz lost his job in the summer of 2009. He searched for work for months, only to be frustrated by the impossible job market.

“My stack of bills was this high two months ago,” Ortiz says, making a five-inch gap with his hands. “I’m slowly getting caught up.”Ortiz, 46, is one of the few lucky ones who landed a job recently. Well, “lucky” might be a relative term here.

Ortiz earns just $17.98 more in each two-week check than he received with unemployment benefits.

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