For many, Labor Day weekend is a time to celebrate the fruits of their labor. But for those who are unemployed, it can be just another reminder of the difficult times they're facing.

Family therapist Melody Brooke said, "Here you are on Labor Day weekend, when you're supposed to be celebrating the labor force and you're not in the labor force. You know, what does that do to a person's self-esteem?"

The effects of the struggling job market have not been missed on North Texas. In Dallas County alone, more than 282-thousand people are with a job this Labor Day weekend.

While Texas unemployment is slightly less than the national average at 9.1 percent, the unemployment rate in DFW at 8.6 percent is higher than the state average, according to July 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And, more than 42 percent of those unemployed have been without a job for 27 weeks or longer, causing Brooke to see an increase in clients with depression.

"People have a difficult time, because they've gone such a long time without work," she said. "It's hard to keep your enthusiasm up. It's hard to keep your motivation up. It's hard to feel good about yourself."

Brooke said this is especially difficult for men, who make up about half of those unemployed.

"When they don't have the ability to bring in income for their family, even if they're providing in other ways, they don't feel like they're much of a man. Men are more likely to commit suicide than women, so you have to be conscious of that, especially if you have a husband or a son in your life that's been unemployed for a long time," Brooke said.

While the holiday weekend makes thinking of your current job status unavoidable, Brooke said there are ways to beat the Labor Day Blues.

"There's lots of ways to get out there and keep your skills fresh and give you a sense of adding value to the world, even as you're not actually bringing in a paycheck," she said.
  • Use all your resources in searching for a job -- including contacts and internet job sites.
  • Establish a daily schedule.
  • Take care of your health by eating right and exercising.
  • Volunteer in your community.