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Job market

Brent once owned an advertising agency that he claims generated $500,000 a year in revenue. Everything was sailing smoothly until his apartment burned down. He had no insurance.

“I just completely broke down,” he said.

Brent claims the trauma distracted him from work and he had to let his clients go to other agencies. He has struggled to land a job ever since.

He might not find something that perfectly matches his creative media background, but the fact of the matter is there are more job openings in the U.S. right now than there are unemployed people. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows there are 6.1 million unemployed workers compared to 9 million job openings.

In January, professional and business services added 74,000 jobs, after last year’s average monthly increase of 14,000. The retail trade sector added 45,000 jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector, which Brent seems to be avoiding, added an average of 39,000 jobs a month in 2023, according to the BLS.

Brent might try his luck finding a job at his desired level in a professional or high-level retail setting while making money in service and hospitality, but he refuses to take a “step down” in the meantime.

“Something better is going to come along and I just know it,” he said.

Hammer wasn’t convinced.

“If your option right now is nothing or something, I’d pick something. Even if that something is not absolutely fantastic,” he said.

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Financial situation

Brent says he takes on odd jobs for income, but it’s not enough to pay rent, which is covered by his parents. That makes him part of another unfortunate cohort. One in four millennials say they rely on their parents to pay their rent, according to a survey by OnePoll for the Chartway Credit Union.

Brent’s situation isn’t unusual, but he seems to make it worse with bad spending habits. He acquired roughly $3,000 in short-term, high interest loans and frequently purchases online lottery tickets.

The situation is bleak, but not hopeless, at least according to Hammer.

“What I would do in general is I would just go get a job today. I would start driving Uber Eats,” he said. “I would also just go work a billion hours a week, every moment that you’re not sleeping.”

Hammer also recommends cutting back on gambling purchases, such as the lottery tickets, and online subscriptions. This could give Brent some room to pay off his debts quickly and stop relying on his parents for financial assistance.

“No more spending money on fun” until the debt is gone, Hammer suggested.


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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.


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