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Video: Hard times sticking around

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    LESTER HOLT, anchor: Looming large over the presidential campaign is the economy, still struggling to gain any traction. And this week we got further proof of the dramatic effect the dismal job market is having on American lives, leaving no generation unscathed. Our report tonight from NBC 's Ron Allen .

    RON ALLEN reporting: Today in Detroit , when dentist Steven Shwedel offered to see patients for free, dozens of people showed up and waited hours to see him.

    Dr. STEVEN SHWEDEL: People have been waiting since 10:00 last night to be seen, and we're going to take care of all of them.

    ALLEN: Another painful economic sign ending a week that saw the Dow take its largest weekly plunge since the financial meltdown of 2008 , forcing advisers at places like ETrade to spend more time managing money and emotion.

    Mr. JOE BILELLO (E*Trade Financial): What I'm hearing from customers is obviously fear and what's going to happen next and what can I do to protect myself.

    ALLEN: Something already happening is that the economy is fundamentally changing the way many of us live and work, revealed this week in new census numbers showing the broad impact. For example, seniors, today wrapping up the annual AARP convention. One in six older Americans is still working, the highest percentage since 1960 . And 44 percent of baby boomers say they won't be able to do what they like in retirement.

    Source: U.S. Census Baby Boomers 44% Can't Afford To Do What They Like

    Source: AARP

    Unidentified Man: The concern I have with the stock market is that it's wiping out a lot of people's pensions, which means they've got to work longer in order to provide for themselves.

    ALLEN: Young people in their 20s and 30s may be struggling most, with the lowest employment rates since World War II , changing expectations about life as an adult.

    Mr. WILLIAM FREY (Brookings Institution): They're postponing marriage. They're postponing having children. They're living with their parents. This is a group we really do have to focus on. They're part of our future. They're a big part of our future.

    ALLEN: And yet another sign of these tough times, Hallmark now has cards designed to send to someone out of work, with messages of sympathy and encouragement that some stores report are selling fast. Ron Allen , NBC News, New York.

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