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NPR Series: The Road Back To Work

  • A little more than a year ago, NPR launched the Road Back to Work series, following six people in St. Louis who started 2011 unemployed and were searching for work. Like so many Americans, the people we followed have had difficulty getting health coverage, even after returning to work.
  • For the long-term unemployed, getting a job isn't always the end of the story. In the next installment of NPR's Road Back to Work series, we check in with Randy Howland and Jennifer Barfield who both find themselves searching for work once again.
  • Since September, President Obama and Republicans in Congress have been fighting over jobs. With so much political focus on jobs, NPR checks back in with the people we've been following as part of our Road Back to Work series. They started the year unemployed and searching for work.
  • Like some 14 million Americans, the people in our series The Road Back to Workstarted the year unemployed and searching for a job. Nine months later, all six of the St. Louis residents are working, but their struggles continue.
  • In the months since Randy Howland, 51, was first hired as a customer service representative, his excitement of having a job has turned to defeat. As part of the Road Back to Work series, we catch up with Howland — who was out of work for more than a year — as he prepares for a job interview for what he hopes is a better position.
  • Randy Howland and Ray Meyer are working again, though the jobs aren't ideal. They're earning far less than they did before losing their jobs at the height of the recession. And while they could easily dwell on the negative, both men say they're happy.
  • Annica Trotter's struggle to find work is over after five stressful months. But the financial woes aren't over for Trotter and her boyfriend. They still have to dig out from a mountain of bills before they can get married and do more to provide for their children.
  • Randy Howland took a customer service position that pays $10 an hour just to get back into an industry he loves. Many Americans are settling for less. Some, like Brian Barfield, are even taking part-time jobs to tide them over while they continue to search for full-time employment.
  • Annica Trotter, 25, is struggling to find work while she cares for her 4-month-old son. She has been out of work for just a few months, but the stress is mounting. Trotter and her boyfriend recently had to cancel their car insurance and Internet access to make ends meet.
  • Six unemployed residents of the area have vastly different backgrounds. But they all share one goal — finding a job. In St. Louis, the labor market and unemployment rate are very similar to the rest of the nation. NPR begins a year-long journey, following these residents in their quest for work.