Not to be a downer on Christmas Eve, but I just got an email that a fellow I knew, more an acquaintance than close friend, is in the hospital after trying to commit suicide. He lost his job a month ago, after the board of his large company decided they didn't like how the economy for 2013 was projected to be, and wanted to "tighten" up for their shareholders. He moved to this company after they recruited him pretty hard a couple of years ago, leaving his previous company to join them. The relevance of that is that he only has a couple of years with this new company, and thus gets almost no severance package. When we look at these unemployment numbers, it can become a political "game" of sorts, arguing why they are what they are, who is at fault, and so on. I'm sure many of us have been part of those numbers during this horrific economy; I was, back in the first months of 2009. But for many of those millions, this can feel like the end of your life. It did for Danny (the person who tried to commit suicide.) He got almost no severance. Due to a previous job loss, and a long time before finding a job, they had blown through what cash reserves/savings they had, including a good bit of their 401k. Danny's wife said that he lost 30 pounds in the month since he lost his job, in a panic. They have no way to pay the January mortgage or any of their bills. They have a daughter who is a junior in college, and no way to pay her next semester bill, which is already due. They have 13 and 12 year old sons. His wife does not currently have a job and has been unable to find one (she only has an associate degree and so has been looking for a receptionist type job or anything else that she can qualify for.) Unemployment doesn't come close to paying their basic bills. They have no family to move in with. They feel they have nowhere to turn, and as a 50 years old lower level manager all the headhunters are telling him, even though they will move for a job, it is likely to be a very long time before he lands somewhere else as companies are being very cautious in their hiring due to all of the uncertainty right now. He tells them he'll take any kind of job, and they tell him so will most people on the job market right now, but no one wants to hire a 50 year old middle manager into a job that younger people can be hired into. No income, no way to pay any bills, can't pay for his daughter's college (and they tell him he won't qualify for any scholarships, etc. until next semester, they have been there pleading,) can't pay the mortgage and nowhere to live (they can't even afford a small apartment in the area they live, and they haven't been out of work long enough to qualify for housing help, plus they were told all such housing was taken already in their area.) Danny read his life insurance and concluded that if he ran his car into a light pole at high speed it would kill him and his family would then have the money to carry on. He did not count on the airbag being able to save his life, although he is now in serious condition in the hospital with no insurance and no way to pay. (They know it was a suicide attempt because he left his wife a note and told her she couldn't tell anyone or the life insurance wouldn't pay off.) Just 1 job loss. Hardly a number that counts when you look at the millions out of work. Yeah, I know, why doesn't he and his family do this or take advantage of that to get by with no income; from personal experience, it is much easier to figure out how to live with zero income when you are young and single than 50 and with a wife and three kids, and that is not the point. The point is that sometimes we all forget the devastation and humiliation and pain that goes with the numbers we see posted under the unemployment data. Every one of those are real people, many in what feel are hopeless situations. FWIW.