According to an article in the Star-Telegram, the number of unemployed people receiving jobless benefits exceeded 6 million for the first time ever. And that doesn’t include the 2.1 million unemployed people receiving extended unemployment benefits under a program passed by Congress in 2008. Despite a slight drop in the number of new claims this past week, experts predict that the number job losses will continue to push up the unemployment rate in 2009.

The article said:

Employers have cut 5.1 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, as they try to slash costs while consumers and businesses spend less… The Federal Reserve expects the unemployment rate will probably “rise more steeply into early next year before flattening out at a high level over the rest of the year,” according to minutes from the central bank’s March meeting released earlier this month. Many private economists expect the rate will hit 10 percent by year’s end.

Many experts are predicting that the job losses may last even longer than we could have imagined. The number of job losses we’re currently experiencing and the expected rise in unemployment will have huge ramifications for American workers. Less job stability and possibly lower pay will make paying existing debt more difficult, pushing many Americans into default and foreclosure . As far as unemployment insurance is concerned, many unemployed workers are watching their benefits expire as they find it nearly impossible to find comparable work that will pay their bills and existing debt.

A situation where there are millions of unemployed Americans with no safety net and deeply in debt is something we haven’t experienced since the Great Depression. If you are currently deeply in debt and expect a job loss you need to consider how you will repay or discharge your debt. Don’t wait until the last minute to consider all of your options. It is best to think about your options such as bankruptcy now while you still have a job and are not under the tremendous amount of stress unemployment can bring.