Click on Image for a bigger chart.
So just how many people are collecting unemployment insurance benefits? As of July 2009, there are more then 6 million Americans collecting UI benefits---This is a record high amount and there is several reasons for this. First, the population is bigger than it has been in the prior 40 years and the amount of availabe workers is also larger than what it was in the decades past. Additionally, many more states are offering extended UI benefits--Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 benefits can stretch benefits out to over 70 weeks in many states.
Nonetheless, there just aren't that many jobs out there and the continuing claims is bound to decrease in the coming weeks---aided of course by people finding jobs, but also from people exhausting all of their benefits.
Looking at the chart, you can see that sometimes continuing claims plateaus and other times it shoots down as fast as it shot up---what will this great recession do? It's anybody's guess---but I feel comfortable in guessing that it will stay above 5 million people for at least another year.