Yesterday, the U.S. Labor Department announced that unemployment jumped to 7.2%, the highest in 16 years. How many of us know someone who’s lost their job in the last 5 months or can you speak for yourself? I can raise my hand for the former.

When I got my New York Magazine (Jan 5 -12) in the mail last week, I flipped to an interesting feature, “My Laid-Off Life,” a series of personal tesimonials as told to Mara Altman by New Yorkers who lost their jobs since August 2008. Here are some highlights:

I think it’s everyone for themeselves right now. I’m in survival mode.
Ross Tillman, Age 24, [was] Recruiter at a head-hunting firm

We are eating leftovers–we never did that before. If we want to see friends, we have potlucks.
Denise Durham Williams, Age 50, [was] Global director for diversity of the Global Consumer Group, Citigroup

I moved here in 1988 in pursuit of my dream to become part of the New York theater community –being laid off made me realize that two decades have passed and I’ve moved no closer to that goal.
Marc Thomas, Age 44, [was] Personal assistant at an architectural firm

I started dating a guy at exactly the same time the shit hit th efan with regard to the economy and my career. I can safely say my sex life is the one thing ‘that’s been benefiting from all of this.
Cadden Jones, Age 26, [still] Actress

I’m trying to get myself into the right people’s in-boxes, but I don’t want to be a wretch who reeks of desperation.
Michael Roston, Age 31, [was] Online editor, the New York Sun

The first couple of days were pretty bad–she [my wife] was in shock–but then she realized I could cook.
Igor Gavrilov, Age 30, [was] Fixed-income salesperson, Citigroup

…the kids are like my therapy. I’m starting to realize the importance of health and family. I’m bonding with them more. They are so innocent. They don’t care if Daddy has a job or not. To them, I’m just Daddy.
Max Perez, Age 40, [was] IT director at a financial-services firm

Granted, these aren’t your GM, motor city, blue collar types being laid off. Usually, no one says much when another factory closes. But this time it’s different. These New Yorkers make it clear, that this is not your average financial downturn. The President-elect’s weekly address is about Jobs.