The Personal Side of the Great Recession: Courage in the Face of Adversity

My April column for

For the past year, we have traveled around the country conducting interviews for Over Fifty and Out of Work, a multimedia project that documents the impact of the Great Recession on Boomers.

We use video interviews to illuminate the real lives hidden behind the dismayingly bleak economic story: Older Americans are unemployed at higher rates than they have ever been previously, and they are out of work longer than any other age group. They have also often seen the seen the value of their homes and savings collapse as a result of the housing and financial bubbles. Lastly, when they look for new jobs, they confront the daunting double hurdles of age discrimination and a bias against hiring the unemployed.

Our interviewees are “real people with real stories,” as one of the steelworkers we interviewed in West Virginia said. Recently, we had a reminder how real our interviewees’ lives are and that their life stories do not end when the interview does.

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