The August unemployment rate is out. The new rate is 9.7 percent. That's up from 9.4 percent last month, and is a little higher than what economists predicted. Most economists are saying the recession is waning, but try saying that to the more than half a million laid-off workers applying for benefits. New numbers out Thursday showed a slight improvement in jobless claims from the week before, but it's still far higher than the 350,000 claims that economists say is a sign of a healthy labor market. We're looking at the economic picture of ordinary people. We'll crunch the big numbers with Catherine Rampell, editor of the New York Times Economix blog. But we'll also speak to three people struggling to find a job or hold onto the one they already have: Cliff Hagedon, owner of Fort Gratiot Express trucking; Francine Morin, an unemployed health care program coordinator; and Liz Gold, who manages a social networking site called for mothers in Tampa, Florida.

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