Not Working: The Pulse of the Great Recession (DVD & SV)


This video travels around the country to gather stories of people – hourly wage earners, salaried executives, and employees from every tax bracket in between – who have lost their jobs due to the recent economic downturn.

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#9131   In dialogue with Studs Terkels famous book Working, Not Working: The Pulse of the Great Recession travels the country from Orange County, California, to New York City to gather stories of people – hourly wage earners, salaried executives, and employees from every tax bracket in between – who have lost their jobs due to the recent economic downturn.
Interviews center on the exact moment when the job was lost while also documenting the conditions that led to that moment and the consequences that have followed. This is the face of the Great Recession. Some language may be offensive.
Viewing time: 98 minutes. Closed-captioned. © 2013.
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Segments in this program include:
  • U.S. Faces Recession (04:34)A young man describes losing his job as a loan officer at the end of the subprime mortgage bubble. In 2011, filmmaker D.W. Gibson interviewed unemployed Americans across the country.
  • Zip Code Eliminated (02:25)In June 2011, the company town of Empire, Nevada closed when the plant shut down. Tammy Sparkes had just bought the general store; she describes community members’ reluctance to leave.
  • Recession’s Domino Effect (03:04)Doris Tullar lost her job as a bus driver in Empire, Nevada; most families have left the area. Demand for mining gypsum was driven by the states construction boom.
  • Nevada’s Foreclosures (01:16)University of Nevada professor Elliot Parker explains how the state’s recession is linked to the California housing market.
  • California’s Sub Prime Loans (03:13)During the recession, Fresno’s unemployment went from bad to worse. Loan officer James Morrison recalls issuing mortgages that would inevitably end in foreclosure.
  • Disabled and Unemployed in Utah (03:25)Employment assistance organization PARC contracts custodial positions with a nearby Air Force base. Dusty Nance was laid off and can’t get benefits.
  • Fighting Unemployment Depression (04:47)Brenda Scott describes losing her custodial job at a Utah Air Force base while going through a divorce. She’s considering opening her own cleaning business.
  • City Cut Backs in Wyoming (04:31)Sue Whetten describes being laid off from Cheyenne Botanic Gardens – a job she loved. She misses working with volunteers and having financial independence.
  • Outsourcing U.S. Jobs (05:13)Three generations of Randy Badman’s family lived and worked in company town DeWitt. He describes being laid off after 36 years; soon after the factory was shuttered.
  • Company Town Shuts Down (02:35)Badman describes DeWitt before and after the factory closed, and the emotional impact of being laid off. He’s optimistic that the economy will pick up again.
  • Psychology of Unemployment (04:28)Wendy Hamilton describes her depression and financial struggle after being laid off in Omaha. U.S. leaders are reluctant to label the recession a depression.
  • Unemployment Solidarity (07:06)Doug Messenger describes a series of layoffs as an architectural drafter. He now works two retail jobs but makes half his old salarybut finds comfort that others share his situation.
  • Losing Hope in Kansas City (07:39)The U.S. GDP continues to grow, but employment is stagnant – resulting in fewer people working harder for less pay. Granketha Major and Christine Myrick describe losing their jobs at city hall, and the difficulty getting interviews in a competitive market.
  • Living without Benefits (01:46)Dominic Brocato describes his job search as frustrating. He’s been unable to get health insurance due to a preexisting condition.
  • Losing a Career Identity (08:00)Roni Chambers relates the emotional impact of firing 1,000 employees across the U.S. – and then being laid off herself. She volunteers at networking organization for middle aged, unemployed people.
  • Technology Driven Economy (01:28)An expert discusses how professionals have to upgrade their education and skills to stay valuable in the labor market.
  • Journalism during the Recession (05:20)Jenny Elig and Judy Wolf recall losing their jobs at the Indianapolis Star – causing a professional identity crisisand describe the mental challenges of unemployment.
  • Identity Crisis of Unemployment (02:45)Nancy Lee talks about the psychological and emotional process after losing her job – coinciding with a divorce.
  • Finding New Career Inspiration (05:15)After losing her job, a relationship helped Nancy gain life perspective. She’s turned a jewelry making hobby into a business and reconnected with her son.
  • Optimism during Bankruptcy (06:16)An expert discusses how short term thinking has resulted in environmentally irresponsible behavior. Pittsburgh private investigator Bob Bendig recalls losing his business; facing failure and networking have helped him get back on his feet.
  • Jeopardized Careers in New Jersey (06:11)State and local government layoffs outnumber federal ones during the recession. Rafael Rivera, Matthew Bonnette and Renee Muhammad describe their dismissal from the Camden Fire Department – the first in the citys history.
  • Human Capital in the Recession (04:36)Factors such as self-esteem are difficult to measure. Skills depreciate when unused – impacting the economy as well as individuals. Unemployed Americans give their definitions of work.

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