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Roger Ahlfeld wakes up each morning at about 5:30 and before taking his first sip of coffee, he grabs his iPad to check his e-mail.
He showers, shaves, checks his email. He fixes breakfast, walks his daughter to the bus stop, and checks his email. By the end of the day, Ahlfeld will check his email dozens of times, unable to suppress the hope that his inbox will deliver a message from an interested recruiter, or, at long last, a job offer.
Ahlfeld is among the millions of Americans grappling with long stretches of joblessness and mustering the courage each day to keep looking even as they face a cruel Catch-22: the longer they remain unemployed, the less likely they are to get hired.