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Hardly working: Steve Brodner on the jobs crisis

Why are big corporations raking in big profits, even as joblessness grips the country? As part of an hour-long special on unemployment, editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner illustrates the seemingly paradoxical trends of big profits for companies and pink slips for workers.

“If you’re unemployed, regardless of what the news is now, things are just not getting any better. It’s just — it’s just sort of stuck, even though the headlines sometimes say otherwise.

So here’s our guy, and he’s got a pink slip in his hand. He and the other jobless are watching a kind of interesting split. Some large corporations are actually having a very good quarter:

AT&T: Up 25 percent.

ExxonMobil: 85 percent this quarter. Pretty good.

And how about Amazon? Maybe they read the headline that Amazon is up 45 percent.

Recently, The Washington Post asked executives of some moderate-sized companies why they weren’t hiring. They said, you know, consumer spending is down, and maybe more stimulus might help for a little while, but slow growth is becoming something that people are expecting to become the way of life now.

So what the jobless are hearing is, ‘We’d love to hire you, but hey, it’s a slowdown!’ That has created a kind of psychological depression. And while people are out of work, for a lot of companies, the economy is growing — they’re doing well.

But for these people, the economy is hardly working.”

Related links:

Share your own stories of the recession in The Pitch Room

Interactive: Jobless rates in context

Video: The young and the jobless, an interview with The Atlantic’s Don Peck

Video: Help wanted: The recession and the unemployment picture, from Nightly Business Report

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