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In tough times, some taking time off from finding jobs

Stephen Mallinson, 26, is part of a recently laid off younger laid-off workforce taking its time before going back to work.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Since 26-year-old Stephen Mallinson was laid off from a communications company in May, he's been spending more time relaxing than stressing about finding a new job.

"It's not really a vacation, but at the same time, I'm in a position that I wasn't in coming out of college to take my time, relax and pick what I want to do," he said.

Mallinson is part of what's been dubbed a "FunEmployment" percentage of the country – made up primarily of recently laid off younger people who are taking their time and living off savings before going back to work.

"I sure understand that, especially if they're eligible for unemployment, because the money is coming in," said Wayne Beverly, a regional manager with the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

According to a recent study from CareerBuilder.com, of 1,800 people recently laid off, 22 percent indicated they have decided to spend more time with friends and family.

For others, like Jeffrey Monroe, they need work now. Bills are piling up.

"If you ain't got a job, what are you going to do?" Monroe asked.

Unemployment is at an all-time high in North Carolina, with the ESC reporting an 11.1 percent unemployment rate for the month of May. County data released Friday shows an increase in unemployment in 82 counties.

The ESC has paid nearly $3 billion in benefits over the course of a year.

Mallinson said he is looking for a job closer to his major of political science, possibly with a nonprofit group.


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