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According to the latest jobs numbers, issued by the Labor Department on January 6, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. The Great Recession has claimed more than 8.5 million jobs since 2007, and even though the current trajectory of the U.S. appears to be toward recovery, Americans are still struggling to find work. Nine of the photographs below appear in The Atlantic's January/February 2012 print issue, and I've added 25 more here to round out a collection of images from these years of uncertainty -- of men and women both at work and out of work in the United States. [34 photos]

A workman steams a U.S. flag in preparation for a planned visit by President Barack Obama, on April 6, 2011, at wind turbine manufacture Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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gManZboy writes "JPMorgan Chase and other companies at this year's Hadoop World conference came begging for job applicants: They say they can't find enough IT pros with certain skills, including Hadoop MapReduce. That spells high pay. As for Hadoop's staying power as a career path (a la SQL 30 years ago), IBM, Microsoft and Oracle have all embraced Hadoop this year. Maybe the best news of all: 'Intelligent technologists will pick up Hadoop very quickly.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Seven weeks into Occupy Wall Street, the movement continues in locations both large and small. There have been recent clashes between protesters and police in several cities, most notably Oakland, California. Some of the first protesters arrested in New York are due to appear in court today, facing charges related to mass arrests made earlier in Manhattan and on the Brooklyn Bridge. Meanwhile, financial support has been pouring in. OWS organizers have raised more than half a million dollars and are now struggling to manage such a large pool of donations. Gathered here are recent scenes from the Occupy movement across the U.S. and overseas. [43 photos]

Occupy Oakland protesters cheer as they climb on tractor trailers loaded with shipping containers at the Port of Oakland, California, on November 2, 2011, effectively shutting down the United States' fifth busiest port during a day of non-stop protesting in Oakland. (AP Photo, Kent Porter, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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