Despite mixed reports yesterday about the state of job creation in the U.S., the country's jobs machine failed to get out of the ditch, with new claims for unemployment benefits climbing by 6,000 last week to 401,000, according to today's Labor Department report. Granted, it's not much of a rise but it brings initial jobless claims over the all-important 400,000 level. "Economists generally think the economy is adding more jobs than it is shedding once the figure falls below 400,000," explains The Wall Street Journal. A Labor Department official speaking with The Journal said "there were no special factors influencing the latest data. For the previous report, the official had attributed the big drop mainly to seasonal adjustment volatility, rather than economic factors."

And in case you are lucky enough to not be personally aware of how awful it is to be unemployed, a new Brookings Institute study highlights how people laid off during an economic downturn make less money for the rest of their life, CNN Money reports. "Of workers who lost a job during a time of high unemployment (and had been on the job for three years or more), 75% were still earning less than they did before their job loss, even 20 years later, according to the study. The pay hit is likely to be about $112,000 on average, or 19% of their lifetime earnings."