Unemployment Hits 5.1 Million

Despite analysts' expectations that the number of new jobless claims would decrease, the recession proved its continued strength this morning as the Labor Department reported 667,000 new additions to unemployment benefits. The number is up from the week prior (631,000) and the highest level of first-time claims since 1982. The depressing data means 5.1 million Americans are receiving assistance—on the rise for the fifth straight week. Another 1.4 million people receive benefits as part of the newly extended program.