In a disappointing turn of events, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits hit half a million last week. The represents the highest unemployment numbers since November of 2009. This also marks the third week in a row claims have increased, which is a major disappointment to those who thought the economy was recovering.
"These numbers are important because they indicate the rate of growth in the economy is weakening and that the rate for growth is now insufficient to stop unemployment from rising," said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.
The latest jobless claims numbers, released by the Labor Department today, mark the third straight week that they've risen. In a healthy economy, jobless claims usually drop below 400,000. Right now, they've risen to 500,000.
In Washington, the grim numbers prompted a statement from President Obama.
"This morning's news that unemployment claims rose again compels us to act," he said this morning, touting a plan to promote hiring by small business.