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

Inflation adds new pieces to the puzzle of running an independent movie theater

Jul 20, 2022
Nashville's Belcourt just had its first "normal" weekend in 2 years, while supply chain issues and industry change are adding obstacles.
Everything costs more now, says Stephanie Silverman, the Belcourt's executive director, including shipping for repertory films like 1992's "Malcolm X."  "Those movies are heavy," she says.
Andie Corban/Marketplace

One school district’s attempt to keep students safe

Jun 28, 2022
“We have to do this,” says Dr. Scott Anzalone, former president of the local school board in Logan, Ohio.
"We've done everything possible to make sure security is tight without making kids more traumatized," says Dr. Scott Anazlone, former president of the Logan-Hocking School District in Ohio.
Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Omicron is straining medical supply chains and this small practice

Jan 5, 2022
A rural family physician discusses shortages of medications, hospital staff and beds for COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Scott Anazalone at his independent medical practice in Logan, Ohio, in 2019. As the only independent family doctor in the area, he says demand for his services outstrips supply.
Cassidy Brauner

Why this longtime bartender quit the service industry

Dec 2, 2021
Neil Cairns of Oregon has been on an employment roller coaster the past two years. Now he’s trying something new.
Neil Cairns is among the unprecedented numbers of workers who recently quit their jobs. Above, Cairns slings drinks at the Game Knight Lounge in Portland, Oregon, in December 2019.
Photo by Thomas Patterson for Marketplace

An independent movie theater eyes “momentum” heading into 2022

Nov 23, 2021
“It really is beginning to look — dare I say it — a little normal,” said the executive director of Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre.
“It finally feels like we might walk into 2022 and see some consistency,” said Stephanie Silverman, executive director of the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville.
Photo by Tom Gatlin, courtesy Belcourt Theatre

The "organizational nightmare" of managing a classroom this year

Sep 23, 2021
According to high school art teacher Megan Anzalone, the number of students quarantining this year makes her job more challenging.
Teaching this year has been “a bit of an organizational nightmare for everybody from the administration all the way down to the kids,” said high school art teacher Megan Anzalone.
Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Big screens are back, but what about audiences?

Jun 23, 2021
Stephanie Silverman, executive director of an independent movie theater in Nashville, is navigating an industry in transition.
The Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, reopened on April 23, but executive director Stephanie Silverman says the crowds have been "inconsistent."
Tom Gatlin courtesy Belcourt Theatre

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“I’ve never seen so many Help Wanted signs”

May 4, 2021
A view of the strong labor market in a rural Ohio town.
Dr. Scott Anzalone, a physician in Logan, Ohio, says tourists seeking rentals have injected cash into the local economy.
Photo courtesy of Scott Anzalone

For small-business owners, “it’s just never-ending”

Mar 17, 2021
An independent hairstylist reflects on her newfound respect for small-business ownership after a year on her own.
Hairstylist Ashley Nelson’s private suite in downtown Boise, Idaho. She's looking to grow and bring people with her.
Courtesy of Ashley Nelson

Why this unemployed bartender feels “betrayed” by the nation's safety net

Mar 4, 2021
Neil Cairns of Portland, Oregon, is finding that returning to work is a tough job.
"I'm casting my net as wide as I can," says former bartender Neil Cairns about his search for work.
Thomas Patterson