According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, the Labor Department announced that new claims for unemployment insurance benefits dropped last week to a seasonally adjusted 521,000.

The article said:

“Despite the improvement, initial claims remain well above the 325,000 that economists say is consistent with a healthy economy.”

Also, there are still 8.9 million Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits, including those who are receiving benefits through the emergency extension program.  While many analysts hope that the drop in initial claims is a sign that the economy is recovering, what they don’t count is the number of unemployed workers who do not qualify for unemployment benefits or how have accepted part-time or lower paying jobs. Currently, workers who qualify can receive up to 79 weeks of unemployment (with the extension) and some states are even considering an additional 13 weeks.  Many jobless Americans are finding that they are unable to find work even after a year of searching. Some Americans have even exhausted their savings, liquidated retirement accounts and other assets just to survive on the paltry unemployment benefits.  It’s important that every person enduring a job loss realize that their period of unemployment could be long-term. Ask yourself, will I be able to pay my debts and everyday expenses if I remain unemployed for six months to a year?  If not, then you may want to consider discharging some of your debts in bankruptcy.