White Collar Reset: You know it's bad when even the robots are out of work

To stem the tide of red ink around our household while I keep looking for a job, I recently picked up some magazine writing assignments, and one of them took me to Detroit, which is perhaps the one town, outside Port Au Prince, that could make me feel flush these days. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unemployment in the greater Detroit metropolitan area reached a staggering 14.9 percent in May. Almost everyone you meet is out of work or has someone in the household who is.

Save for maybe health care and fast food, no sector of the Detroit economy has been spared. Driving in from the airport, you cruise down broad boulevards past gracious brick four- and five-bedroom homes, and every other one is boarded up with weeds sprouting from the front walk. The scene reminds me of New Orleans after Katrina, although I'm not sure that in terms of future prospects and the prevailing sense of doom that hangs over the place, Detroit doesn't have it worse.