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

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

“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

The pandemic as seen by a high-school senior and his older brother

Feb 17, 2021
“It's very easy to just stay in your room all day and not let anybody know what's happening to you,” says student AJ Williams.
CPA Michael Durant, right, and his younger brother, AJ Williams. The brothers lost their mother to COVID, and Williams is missing his freedom because of the quarantine.
Maria Hollenhorst/Marketplace

Despite challenges, this movie theater operator is optimistic about the future

Jan 28, 2021
“While streaming is a reality, it’s not communal,” said Stephanie Silverman of Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre. People “will want to be out in the world again.”
An empty screening room at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville, which has been closed for indoor screenings since Jan. 1.
(Courtesy of the Belcourt Theatre)

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A view of the vaccine rollout from rural America

Jan 8, 2021
Dr. Scott Anzalone, a family physician and president of the school board in Logan, Ohio, talks about pandemic challenges.
"It's tough to find someone who's willing to come into a rural community," Dr. Scott Anzalone says of finding a partner for his practice, above.
Cassidy Brauner

How one family is looking ahead to a post-pandemic world

Dec 9, 2020
After a dark year, New York City Accountant Michael Durant says he’s “starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.”
New York City accountant Michael Durant says he's beginning to see "light at the end of the tunnel" after a difficult year.
Henry Guttmann Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

An unemployed bartender’s search for work and stability

Dec 2, 2020
“There’s just a lot of people applying for not a lot of jobs,” says Neil Cairns of Portland, Oregon.
With many bars and restaurants closed or struggling to stay open, there's stiff competition for jobs in the industry.
Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images