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Dow Jones Industrial Average Means Everything to Unemployed Man

Kansas City, MO – Daniel Zersky wants to find a job. He was laid off nearly four months ago, after working for 13 years as a machine operator at a nearby textile plant. Now, his children can’t afford new clothes or toys, his car is overdue for maintenance and his wife needs to see a dentist. The Zerskys don’t have the money for any of these things.

“I hope something will come through soon,” Daniel said, sitting in his living room with his wife, Ernestine. “We’re down to our last little bit here.”

But what keeps Daniel going is the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The type of day the benchmark indicator has can lift Daniel’s spirits or drag them down. It all depends on where the Dow is as the closing bell sounds.

“If the Dow moves up, I get very happy, very content,” Daniel said. “It’s as if I don’t have any problems anymore.”

Ernestine agreed that a good day on Wall Street can sometimes make the couple forget all about Daniel not having a job, about the difficulty of the past several months.

“None of it matters when we watch CNBC and see that the Dow has closed up,” Ernestine said, looking at Daniel, who nodded in agreement. “For those few minutes, it’s okay that Daniel got laid off, that we’re struggling financially, because the Dow is okay. As long as the Dow is okay, I can go to sleep with a sound mind.”

Ernestine said there are times where one of their three young children will wake up crying during the night. She used to try to rock them back to sleep, or read them a story.

“Now I’ll go to their room and cradle them and say, ‘The Dow was up 120 points today. What are you crying about?'”

Of course, there are bad days for the market, too, and for the Dow specifically. Daniel said the bad days do hurt a lot, and can dull some of the optimism he feels about his prospects of finding work in the near future.

“It’s like, even if I have an interview lined up, if the Dow drops a good amount, like a hundred points, then I feel like all hope is lost, it doesn’t even matter,” Daniel said. “Last week I had an interview scheduled in the evening, but after the Dow dropped a bunch, I didn’t even bother to go. What’s the point?”

Asked how they are affording cable television with Daniel being out of work, Ernestine said, “Well, we really can’t afford it. We should really be buying food and clothes and things. But we have to watch the Dow.”