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Where Are
They Now?

From the Great Depression to the Gig Economy

Gig #7, (2021)

Digital Sketch

WATN, Unemployment Line, Detail, 2021

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Where Are They Now: Gig #7, (2021)

Digital Sketch

Unemployment was rampant during the Great Depression at 25.6%. Compare that to the Great Recession of ‘08 (10%), and COVID (14.7%). Now how they measure unemployment is complicated and often unrepresentative of the actual number of those looking for work. The more recent numbers ignore those who are not actively looking for work. Adding them and the recent unemployment numbers resemble those of the Great Depression.

I myself have been unemployed or underemployed almost as much as I’ve been employed. The most recent time was a lack of classes due to COVID. While I wasn’t completely unemployed I did go through the Unemployment benefits process, which in and of itself became a full-time job. I had to apply to at least 5 jobs a week, meet with a counselor for at least 5 hours a week, and track the hours I did work.

So that’s why men in an unemployment line became another gig. Unemployment is as stressful, if not more so than any job. And takes up as much time.

Modern unemployment lines are all online, which can’t easily be reconciled with the source image. So I adjusted my concept to include the places the under and unemployed go to make ends meet. Enter Check Cashing/ Payday loan stores and Pawn Shops. Check cashers, much like the other employers, exploit the poor for profit, chagrin as much as 390% interest. I’ve used these services because at one point in my life I was too broke for a bank account, and had to cash my paychecks somewhere.

So these gentlemen are in line to cash their scripts from the day’s work.