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Wednesday September 20, 2017
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continued

"It stresses us out every day," says Greenfield, whose husband, a systems engineer, also was unemployed for a while. The couple, parents of five-year-old twins, balanced their budget by cutting out plays, massages, movies, and vacations.

Greenfield knows others have it worse. "I get together with a group of retired Chrysler secretaries, and they're all having a hard time," she says. "One woman--she was an executive secretary--applied to Costco, and she can't even get a call back."

For generations of Michiganians, a job at an auto company was a ticket to prosperity. Pay and benefits were so good that a Ford exec used to tell new hires that they'd boarded the greatest gravy train in history. GM employees affectionately called their company "Generous Motors."

But that was before Chrysler and General Motors went bankrupt. Just as the automakers used to spread jobs and wealth beyond the Motor City, their catastrophic decline now is punishing the entire region.

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