Face of America’s Unemployment Crisis

Mar 5, 2009 7:12pm

Across America, families are looking for jobs and small businesses are struggling to keep hard-working employees on the payroll. On Friday’s broadcast we’ll bring a face to the unemployment crisis in America. Here’s a snapshot. ABC News’ Mary-Rose Abraham reports from Issaquah, Washington: Former Microsoft employees Lori Campbell and Rick Hirst were living comfortably on their combined $170,000 salary. But after Lori’s contract with Microsoft ended in September and Rick was laid off in January, the family has entered "recession mode." As Rick heads back from a job interview in the city, Lori cooks dinner. Tonight’s menu for the family of six is macaroni and cheese, fresh-cooked broccoli and carrot sticks. The children — 7-year-old Helena, 9-year-old Chris, 12-year-old Ben and 15-year-old Matt — were busy with homework before they sat down for dinner.  Lori looks around at the cozy table. "We didn’t get a new kitchen table. We didn’t get new couches." One of the kids cuts in: "You didn’t get new us." They all laugh. The three boys’ bedroom was converted from an office and is stacked with bunk beds. A family of six in a two-bedroom, two-bath condo is tight. But this will be home for a while. Rick estimates they are $30,000 underwater on the condo. "Even if we both got jobs tomorrow, we wouldn’t be looking for a house," he says. "We wouldn’t overextend ourselves like that." To stay on budget, the family stocks up on most of their groceries at a warehouse store. The six of them go through nearly a gallon of milk in a day. Sandwiches for the entire family polish off an entire loaf of bread. Later this week, a trip to Costco will also be a chance to enjoy a rare meal outside the house, at the food court. "For under $15," says Lori, "we can feed the whole family on hot dogs and pizza." Rick adds, "If we went to McDonald’s, it would easily be about $30 for everyone." Stay tuned for more on the family…

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