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The commute to work for many is getting longer and longer

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Between the traffic and the headaches, the commute to and from work can sometimes feel like the longest part of the day. But more and more it is. There is a growing trend of people driving farther, just to have a job in this economy. No longer is convenience a consideration.

For Ashley Matheson, a hard days work means a long haul. Matheson works at the YMCA in Wilmington for minimum wage. She commutes from Oak Island four days a week. That is about 35 miles one way.

If you do the math, that is 70 miles a day and 280 miles per week; just to get a paycheck. “They asked me when they were hiring me, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure its going to be ok to drive that long – that far at night time,” said Matheson. “I was like, yeah, I have to do something.”

According to the State Employment Security Commission, Matheson is one of about 1,500 workers commuting out of Brunswick County. While numbers show more residents, about 1,700 are both working and living in the county. ESC manager, Walker Biggs, said, these tough times mean going where the jobs are.

“They’re driving further than they did before, they’re doing what they can to try and find work,” Biggs said. Sometimes that leaves little choice.

Ashley Matheson spends most of her paycheck on gas, but hitting the open road is what is required for the daily grind. “It is either that or unemployment. That’s basically the jobs these days.”

Going one step farther than the commute, New Hanover County ESC manager Walker Biggs said he now sees more folks willing to relocate for a job than before.

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Story summary

videoBetween the traffic and the headaches, the commute to and from work can sometimes feel like the longest part of the day. But more and more it is. There is a growing trend of people driving farther, just to have a job in this economy.

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Associated poll

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