United States of Work

What if the U.S. labor force were 10 people?

Our re-imagining of the 164 million people who make this economy work.

United States of Work

Meet the People

New York City, NY
New York City, NY

Michael, certified public accountant

Portland, OR
Portland, OR

Neil, bartender

Boise, ID
Boise, ID

Ashley, hair stylist

Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN

Stephanie, executive director of an independent movie theater

Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA

Rocio, construction worker

Kansas City, MO
Kansas City, MO

Steve, professional driver

Logan, OH
Logan, OH

Scott, family physician

Centennial, CO
Centennial, CO

Kate, new account representative

Ashburn, VA
Ashburn, VA

Gaile, cashier

St. Paul, MN
St. Paul, MN

Derrick, community college dean

United States of Work

How and why we chose these 10 people

From This Collection

Navigating the pandemic when “every decision is an individual decision”

Jul 27, 2020
With mixed messaging coming from the government, community college dean Derrick Lindstrom says acting appropriately comes down personal choices.
Community college Dean Derrick Lindstrom with his wife, Christina, kids Ella and Charles, and dog Lucie.
Courtesy Derrick Lindstrom

For some, navigating the pandemic is like “walking on a sheet of ice”

Jul 16, 2020
Tax accountant Michael Durant is seeing his small business clients through a storm, but facing another at home.
Certified Public Accountant Michael Durant said trying to survive the pandemic is "like walking on a sheet of ice" for some of his small business clients. "You're just trying to get to the other side and hoping that it maintains," he said.
Friso Gentsch/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

How one hairstylist is preparing to get back to work

May 12, 2020
As Idaho reopens, Ashley Nelson is getting back in touch with clients and hoping they will be loyal to her.
Ashley Nelson, a hair stylist in Boise, Idaho, hasn't taken an appointment since mid-March.
Arlie Sommer

How one unemployed bartender is making ends meet

May 4, 2020
A government stimulus check, unemployment benefits and helpful roommates are keeping Neil Cairns afloat — for now.
Bartender Neil Cairns in Portland, Oregon, hasn't been able to work since mid-March.
Thomas Patteron

An independent movie theater operator facing 'great unknowns'

Apr 16, 2020
The Belcourt Theatre might be closed, but for its Executive Director Stephanie Silverman, the work goes on.
The Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, is closed to audiences because of COVID-19.
Photo by Tom Gatlin courtesy of the Belcourt Theatre

A small-town doctor coping with COVID-19 disruption

Apr 14, 2020
Cancelled appointments amount to lost revenue for physicians in private practice.
Dr. Scott Anzalone at his independent medical practice, in Logan, Ohio,  Stagecoach Family Medicine.
Cassidy Brauner

A senior citizen working through the pandemic

Apr 2, 2020
“I just take one day at a time,” said Gaile Harrell, a part-time convenience store employee in Ashburn, Virgina.
Gaile Harrell, a convenience store employee in Ashburn, Virginia is considered an essential worker and therefore, working through the pandemic.
Melissa Lyttl

You’ve got questions. We help you answer them.

Support nonprofit, independent journalism that makes you smarter.

A hair stylist choosing between her livelihood and flattening the curve

Mar 25, 2020
Ashley Nelson wasn’t forced to stop working, but she decided to anyway.
Ashley Nelson, a hair stylist at the Collab Salon in Boise, Idaho, recently decided to stop taking appointments because of COVID-19.
Arlie Sommer

The community college administrator dealing with COVID-19 disruption at work and at home

Mar 18, 2020
The disruption of education over the past few weeks affects every member of Derrick Lindstrom's family.
Caroline Yang

One bartender faces the prospect of weeks without pay: “It’s gonna become a problem pretty quick.”

Mar 16, 2020
Neil Cairns, a bartender in Portland, Oregon says he'll just have to "hope for the best" as he faces reduced hours and the prospect of bar closures.
Neil Cairns at the Game Knight Lounge in Portland, Oregon.
Thomas Patterson