Unemployment hits the Main Line

BRYN MAWR, Pa. - December 3, 2009

Ian Slimons was putting up tile in a volunteer effort for a church. He did not use to spend his Thursdays this way; he is a banker by profession. He used to spend his day marketing and selling credit cards to banks across the country.

However, Slimons was laid of off last June.

While unemployment claims in this upscale region along the R-5 tracks are still small compared to less affluent areas, the percentage jump over two years is eye opening. Claims are up 250 percent in Haverford, 200 percent in Wayne, and more than 700 percent in Villanova.

"This time around it's reaching everywhere including professionals, people who made a lot of money in financial institutions, that's gone," Temple economist Bill Dunkleberg said.

Main Line churches like Wayne Presbyterian are ramping up support groups. John Larkin coordinates Wayne's program whose clients include one time six figure earners.

Slimons, the laid off banker, helped open a similar networking group in Berwyn. In the meantime, he continues to look for work in a very tough market.

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