By Mary Blake, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – Jobs are a key part of our identity, so much so, that being without one for a long period of time has a profound impact on one’s psyche.

“Tom”, who was laid off from his job as project manager at a Boston mutual fund company a year ago, says initially there was a feeling of mourning.

“I’m over that now, but I am still unemployed. I need a job,” said Tom.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports.

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Northeastern University Professor Andrew Sum says Tom is one of an estimated 15 million Americans who lost their jobs between 2007 and 2009.

Sum says, “We all pay the price. If you look at 99 weeks of unemployment insurance, and factor in food stamps, you’re talking $50,000, just there.”

Politicians have different approaches on reducing the unemployment numbers.

U.S. Senator Scott Brown wants limited government involvement. Speaking outside a Milford Chamber of Commerce meeting, Brown said, “There is a role for government, but sometimes government just needs to get out of the way and let our entrepreneurial spirit go forth and conquer.”

Governor Deval Patrick believes in targeted investments in key job sectors. “The strategy is about playing to our strengths and our strengths here are in innovation industries, and that’s why the life sciences industries, and IT and clean tech industries are important.”

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