Help Wanted: Stories of Unemployment

Joblessness, through the eyes of the jobless

Six people affected by unemployment in different ways are spending this summer writing about their struggles to pay the bills, preserve relationships and maintain hope for the future. Browse their entries by topic with our interactive word cloud.

(Click to explore 'Help Wanted' diaries.)

Meet the Contributors

Stephen Rhymer, 59, Oklahoma

Where did my life go?

Where did my life go?

I don’t think people understand what happens to someone after they’ve spent two years looking for a job.

More from Stephen Rhymer

Marianne Steffey, 32, Tennessee

Where do I fit in new economy?

Where do I fit in new economy?

The jobs that we lost in the recession are gone. They’re not coming back.

More from Marianne Steffey

Stephanie Dudgeon, 48, Ohio

Uncertainty galore

Uncertainty galore

As my unemployment benefits tick down, there is a great deal of uncertainty in my life now.

More from Stephanie Dudgeon

Thera Larson, 33, Maryland

What are we supposed to do now?

What are we supposed to do now?

There are so many questions and so few answers. I keep tellng myself to hold on, to keep fighting.

More from Thera Larson

Daniel Joyce, 54, California

Our new normal

Our new normal

Yes, our new normal includes much less ability to pay the bills. But what it includes most is worry.

More from Daniel Joyce

Marc Johnson, 36, Virginia

When I look in my daughter’s eyes

When I look in my daughter’s eyes

Some days I look into my new daughter’s eyes and cry. I don’t know how I will support her.

More from Marc Johnson

More Voices

Jobless offer advice for political leaders

110818 - Atlanta - The line circled the building and extended into the back parking lots. Thousands of people packed the campus of Atlanta Technical College Thursday for a job fair sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. Stephanie Young, CBC Communications director, said 70 employers were on hand with 2000 job openings. The wait in line was long -- about three and a half hours -- and at least one woman collapsed from the heat and was taken away by EMS personnell. Aug, 18, 2011 Bob Andres bandres@ajc.com?

Browse unemployment testimonials by topic

Unemployment by County

Interactive graphic

Interactive graphic

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this map shows how each county is faring in the wake of the recession.

About the Project

Inside ‘Help Wanted’

Inside ‘Help Wanted’

In an effort to show the real impact of joblessness, we asked six people to contribute to a reader-powered experiment.

More Unemployment Stories

Left behind in the recovery

These stories depict the crisis for manufacturing and construction workers and explain the pressures that have stalled creation of jobs for them.

Recession road

Michael Williamson is traveling the country, meeting people whose lives have been altered by a flattened economy. Follow his journey.

Tell us your story

Have you, a loved one or a close friend dealt with unemployment? The Post is looking for stories of the real impact of the jobs crisis.