These people are neighbors and friends, people we stand next to on the El, and walk past on the street.
Their stories inspired a WBEZ series called "Hard Working," that's "all about jobs and joblessness, work and what it means when work is hard to find."
Carole Cantrell is a 51-year-old artist who lives in a small apartment in Chicago and struggles to pay her bills by working small, "mundane" jobs she's able to get. But what she really wants is a job as a graphic designer.
Her story is not so very different from the other 1,499,000 unemployed people in the Upper Midwest. They just want to work.