The number of U.S. workers collecting long-term unemployment benefits rose to a record high of nearly 5.5 million last week, indicating that it is taking people a long time to find new jobs after layoffs.
The number of people collecting benefits for more than one week was up 185,000, while the number of Americans signing up for first-time benefits dropped slightly.
Other economic studies published Thursday showed the nationwide economy declining over the next few months, while manufacturing continues shrinking in the key mid-Atlantic area.
Unemployment and other problems were on the minds of top U.S. central bank, Federal Reserve, officials Wednesday, when they said they plan to put one-trillion dollars or more into the economy through purchasing government bonds and mortgage-related securities.
Officials say this should make banks more likely to make the loans consumers need to buy new homes and goods, and will also help businesses buy new equipment and hire new people. The Federal Reserve also kept the key interest rate at a historically low level.