"What is going on with the economy these days?" you ask yourself as you sit on the bench in the park where you go every day after you tell your wife you're "going to work." I'm glad that you asked, brother. If you sort of squint and turn things sideways ever so slightly, it is possible to interpret recent economic trends in a positive way.

A) First, the bad news: "The proportion of Americans in their prime working years [25-54] who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession."

B) But! This period of painful joblessness is encouraging admirable self-sufficiency amongst the populace: "most of the nation's safety-net programs finally are serving fewer people, an analysis of government data shows. The downward trend that started with unemployment insurance in 2010 and welfare benefits in 2011 has reached food stamps."

C) Which is good, because your benefits have run out anyhow: "Hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Americans are receiving their final unemployment checks sooner than they expected... Next month, an additional 70,000 people will lose benefits earlier than they presumed, bringing the number of people cut off prematurely this year to close to half a million."

You're unemployed, but you're dealing with it, because you don't have a choice. Carry on!

[Photo: Colleen Lane/ Flickr]