March 27 2009, 9:43 AM
There are now a record 5.56 million Americans collecting jobless benefits as workers spend longer periods searching for work, and job cuts spread from companies to government agencies, according to Bloomberg News. That's not good news, particularly in Colorado, where the state's unemployment-benefits fund is nearing insolvency, writes The Associated Press, adding that the state might have to borrow money to pay the benefits if the money comes close to drying up sometime next year, as projected. Earlier this week, lawmakers at the state Capitol took a step toward relaxing rules that would allow more unemployed Coloradans to receive benefits, according to The Denver Post, as state unemployment levels are at their highest level in two decades. At least mass layoffs in Colorado dropped last month, according to theÂ Northern Colorado Business Report. In Fresno, California, meanwhile, a shantytown has popped up to house (actually, tent) people who are down on their luck, according toÂ The New York Times. There's a smaller version in Colorado--a camp for homeless people in Colorado Springs, where 49-year-old Royal Bennett rode out the blizzard yesterday, according to theÂ Gazette.