REALITY BITES

Jobless Claims at Peak

More and more Americans are experiencing joblessness with each passing day. Nearly 5 million are now collecting unemployment benefits—an all-time high, the Labor Department reported this morning. Included in the 5 million making jobless claims are over 600,000 new recipients of aid. Just a year ago, 2.7 million were claiming benefits. Now, when factoring in the new extended unemployment program, the true number is 6.54 million Americans. So how does the labor market look? "In disarray," said one economist.