By Bhanu Phuyel
“Having trouble finding a job in other states, you might give Pennsylvania a try” this has been a popular saying among the Bhutanese resettled in different parts of the United States since the employment situation of this state is said to be comparatively better. Dreaming for an entry level job to survive in this dire economic condition, Bhutanese refugees who were relocated in different US states are moving to Pennsylvania, particularly Pittsburgh. But, this ‘Keystone State’ is no more a favorable destination for us now.
Though the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry recently brought forth a report saying there was a healthy employment growth in the first quarter of the year, 2010, yet, the unemployment rate has swelled up one tenth of a percentage point to 9% in March this year. As a consequence, stories of more and more lay-off have frustrated the residents, especially the newly resettled Bhutanese.
Quality Driven Copack, a food-packing plant factory nestled on a small hill in North Charleroi, a producer of breakfast sandwiches, chicken patties and other frozen foods had employed more than 80 Bhutanese refugees some 2 months ago through a staffing agency called “Taste of Asia, LLC”.
About 50 families moved to Charleroi to get a job in this company from different parts of USA, mostly from Idaho. Unfortunately, 50 of the Bhutanese working in the company were fired on April 26 without any reason. Many believe the company laid them off as the sales declined.
They came here from other states with a prospect of finding a stepping stone and are now compelled to stay idly at home. The time is hard for them to pay rent, buy food for their children and survive.
These days its very hard to find job even in Pittsburgh, the city that was included in the Top Ten for job growth by Forbes in 2009. “I have been trying in different companies for a job, but still the situation doesn’t seem to be in my favor”, said a Bhutanese refugee in Pittsburgh who moved to this city from another state with his family a few months ago.” “The present job situation in other cities of PA might be good but not of Pittsburgh”, he added.
“If you are trying to move to this place hoping to find a job, please think twice before you make a decision”, another resettled Bhutanese in Pittsburgh said.
(Mr. Phuyel reports for Bhutanusa.com from PA)