Among the Great Recession's saddest stories are those belonging to the self-styled 99ers, people who have been out of work so long they've run through their 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.
Labor Department economists estimate there are 1.3 million or so of them. But the 99ers say the number is more like four million.
However many there actually are, they are getting increasingly desperate as they search for jobs when there aren't very many to be had.
PBS's Newshour did a compelling segment on the 99ers that aired Friday. A person would need to have a heart of stone to not be moved by the harrowing plight of people who want to work yet cannot find jobs for years on end.
Meanwhile, the New York Times recently profiled a woman and member of a group few would willingly want to be a part of. She was on the verge of being forced to live in her car.
It's a terrible situation the long-term unemployed are in, and unnerving for all those who say "that could just as easily be me."
Small wonder, then, that consumers aren't spending but saving instead and trying where they can to reduce their debt. Which only keeps the economy bumping along, further adding to the misery of the 99ers.