Sorry to hear about your situation. Although your attorney would need more information to truly know if you have a case (such as what was said about you and whether you had a job offer revoked after the rumors were made), I can tell you generally what you would need to establish to win your defamation case.
To prevail in a defamation case, you need to show that someone said something about you that was not true and not a mere matter of opinion. You must also prove that the false statement about you was harmful in a specific way (e.g., a would-be employer revoked his/her job offer after hearing the rumors). Losing a job is certainly harmful; the tricky part is proving you would have gotten a certain job but for the defamation.
Here, you indicate that you cannot get a local job because of "lies and rumors being spread." You will need to prove exactly what was said, and to whom, and that these statements were false, and not matters of mere opinion. Furthermore, you must prove that a specific employer would have hired you had these false statements not been made. This last requirement can be especially difficult because there may be a variety of reasons why someone does not get a job.
Depending on the specifics in your case (e.g., what was said, to whom, ect), you may have a viable defamation claim, but no honest attorney can say for sure without further information. Therefore, you should consider speaking with a local attorney a detailed consultation. Therefore, I recommned that you speak with a local attorney about this face-to-face. Most personal injury attorneys offer free and confidential consultations.
Hope this helps. Best of luck.
Note: this answer is not a substitute for legal counsel. As with any legal matter, you should strongly consider obtaining legal counsel to better understand your legal rights and obligations.