While some are proclaiming the Great Recession over, nearly half a million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, and the unemployment safety net is still at the breaking point.
ProPublica is teaming up with public radio's Marketplace and Public Insight Journalism to tell the real story of tough times for workers and businesses.
You can help us by answering a few questions:
*Insiders: Are you a workforce agency employee, a human resources staffer or an unemployment appeals attorney? Tell us what you know about how the unemployment insurance system really works.
*Business owners: How has your business fared in the recession? Have you been forced to lay off employees, and has the unemployment insurance system impacted your business? What is unemployment like from a business owner’s perspective?
*Unemployed workers: Have you or a loved one recently suffered through a job loss? What's it like looking for a job out there? Did the unemployment system help you, or did you fall through the cracks?
In our past reporting we've looked at the poor job done by some states in funding their unemployment insurance systems, and we even built a Web tool tracking the health of each state's unemployment insurance fund. We've also told the story of the real-life effects of this underfunding on small business owners and workers.
Help us keep the spotlight on the real-life unemployment story behind the numbers.