With approximately 15 million Americans unemployed, finding a job can be a daunting task.
Many qualified job-seekers are sending out hundreds of resumes, going on dozens of interviews with no success.
In St. Louis, six unemployed people are sharing their stories with NPR. The profiles are part of an ongoing series that will follow the participants for a year to document their efforts to find jobs and how unemployment affects them.
In addition to their tireless searches for employment, some have turned to new pursuits to occupy their time. Young mother Annica Trotter has started selling baked goods to keep herself busy and earn extra cash to support her two sons.
For others, the emotional struggle is the most difficult part of being jobless. But the common bond of unemployment has brought some together.
"It's hard to not be depressed," says Jennifer Barfield, 47. She's an IT professional and was laid off from her long-time job at a law firm in March 2009. "I don't know who couldn't be depressed if they were going through this."
After meeting through a group for local unemployed people, Jennifer met Brian Barfield. The pair quickly fell in love and got married.