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US unemployed go under the knife in competitive times

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US jobseekers have shown a committment to supporting the country's plastic surgery industry in these troubled economic times by indulging in a bit of nip and tuck for more than just cosmetic reasons, Reuters reports.

While the industry shrank nine per cent in 2008 to a mere $11.8bn, there's "increased interest" in going under the knife among those faced with the prospect of competing for jobs with younger adversaries.

Jeff Grabow, an LA music marketing exec, recently stumped $17k for a facelift. He told the news agency: "I'm 56 and I've been in the music business for 35 years. We're not having a good year and I know I'll soon have to interview. The surgery made sense for me. I look at least 10 to 15 years younger and I have more confidence."

Grabow's surgeon, Payman Simoni, is apparently popular with jobseekers for his "wide awake facelift", which features only local anesthesia, reduced recovery time an a saving of up to $6,000 over a traditional rebuild.

He explained: "Before the economy turned down, people would come in because they wanted to have more fun and enjoyment out of life. But now plastic surgery has become a necessity for some. People cannot only rely on their skills in this market. They want to look refreshed and youthful so they can compete for jobs."

In Manhattan, meanwhile, surgeon Stephen Greenberg recently moved to cash in on the trend with a "Job Fighter Package". He said: "We've probably done no less than 50 to 60 tune-ups since launching the package about five months ago.

"Men and women in their 40s and 50s are competing with peers 10 to 15 years younger and employers naturally tend to go to a person who looks fresher and younger, despite who is better qualified."

However, Americans have not entirely dropped their penchant for plastic surgery simply for the feel-good factor. NYC surgeon Steven Pearlman said: "People are fed up and are starting to figure that it's time to live a little. Cosmetic surgery is about investing in yourself. It makes you look good and feel better about yourself, a dozen times a day when you look in the mirror."

In case you're wondering where the Yanks get all the cash for these ops, Greenberg said that "a lot of his patients view the surgery as an investment and are financing it with loans".

Reuters notes: "Plastic surgery loans can involve financing charges of 12 to 19 per cent, according to industry experts." ®

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