Jobless rate hits 10% in Long Beach

Businesses, employees in precarious position


“All my eggs are in one basket,” said Marnie Greenfield, an out-of-work Long Beach Medical Center employee who is also displaced from her home in the Canals.

Greenfield is a radiologic technologist who has worked at LBMC for 23 years. She hasn’t set foot in the hospital since Oct. 26, three days before Hurricane Sandy struck. Days after the storm, she found out that she had been laid off. “I couldn’t even focus on anything other than, ‘Oh my God, I have no income and a mortgage to pay,’” she recalled.

Greenfield said that she has sent out some resumes, but the only income she has right now is her unemployment checks. She has to prioritize which of her bills she can pay with the money. “Does it go towards my rent?” she said. “Does it go towards my mortgage? Does it go towards the contractor? Where do I start?”

Last month, the New York State Department of Labor released its November unemployment figures, and the jobless rate in Long Beach jumped from 7.7 percent in October to 10.1 percent in November. A year ago, the rate was 6.6 percent. The November unemployment rate in Nassau County was 7 percent, and statewide, 7.9 percent.

According to the Labor Department’s website, the number of private-sector jobs on Long Island dropped by 5,100 from October to November, a time when there is typically a gain of 3,900 jobs.

Many businesses in Long Beach have been unable to reopen since Sandy or are not operating at full capacity, leaving some or all of their employees jobless. The medical center, one of the largest employers of Long Beach residents, was forced to lay off 700 of its 1,200 workers while it undergoes repairs.

Helene Rogers, the secretary of staff development for the facility’s nursing department, lost everything in the storm. “I lost my apartment, my car, my job, everything,” she said. “I had about four feet of sewage inside; nothing was salvageable.”

Rogers, like Greenfield, has been unable to find another job to hold her over. But dealing with insurance companies, she said, is a full-time job in itself. Rogers’s insurance claims were denied, and it is a constant battle, she said.

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