That’s right. That’s one week’s total.

You can expect the unemployment numbers, which is a trailing indicator anyway, to start really as more and more companies find that access to funds is limited and so they begin to batten down the hatches so they don’t go completely out of business.

From the AP:

More layoffs were announced Thursday. New Britain, Conn.-based tool maker Stanley Works said it plans to cut 2,000 jobs and close three manufacturing facilities, while Sara Lee Corp., known for food brands such as Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm, said it will cut 700 jobs as the Downers Grove, Ill.-based company outsources parts of its business. […]

The jump in initial jobless claims is partly due to a rebound in claims from the previous week, which included the Thanksgiving holiday, a Labor Department analyst said. Government offices were open for fewer days that week.

Still, the four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, was a seasonally-adjusted 540,500, the highest since December 1982, when the economy was emerging from a steep recession.

And those are just the new folks who filed for unemployment. Those already drawing money are still at record highs…

The number of people continuing to claim jobless benefits also jumped much more than expected, increasing by 338,000 to 4.4 million, the Labor Department said. Economists expected a small increase to 4.1 million. The figure for continuing claims lags initial claims by one week.

As a proportion of the work force, the number of people continuing to receive benefits is the highest since August 1992, when the U.S. was recovering from a relatively mild recession. The increase in continuing claims was the largest jump since November 1974, the department said.

Couple that with the news that Obama’s administration is extremely worried that things will get much worse before they get better and you have the makings of a perfect economic storm that only massive government spending can solve.

Business Unemployment Filings Reached 573,000 Last Week