Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s has the United States faced such a prolonged period of high unemployment and underemployment. Recovery from the Great Recession that began in 2008 has been slow, and is projected to remain sluggish over the next several years, while another shock to the global economy could erase the meager gains of the past months. Economic conditions remain fragile and employment challenges show no sign of letting up. With persistently high unemployment and underemployment-and growing inequality in wages-an increasing number of American families are no longer adequately supported by employment income and basic benefits. Many older workers have retired before they are ready, and many young workers cannot find a foothold in the job market. A silent crisis is underway, with huge social and economic costs for the nation. Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility examines the current state of employment through historical, macroeconomic, cultural, sociological and policy lenses, in order to address fundamental questions about the role and value of work in America today. The book offers suggestions for how to address the short- and long-term challenges of rebuilding a society of opportunity with meaningful and sustaining jobs as the foundation of the American middle class.