It sounds like a number on the Richter Scale. And, in fact, it’ll feel that way to a lot of people. No, that’s the unemployment rate today–the highest its been since 1974. It just means that Congress really needs to focus on passing that Stimulus package. You can debate whether it will actually stimulate the economy. What you can’t debate is the aid going to the unemployed: Increased unemployment benefits over a longer period, COBRA healthcare, longer opportunity to claim unemployment, and expanding coverage to more part-time employees.
The job market is terrible–not only are people laying off, but fewer people are hiring–and so the unemployed really, really need these benefits. It’s not only a stimulus, but for at least 7.2 percent of Americans, it’s a lifeline.