The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 9.5 percent in June, with 14.6 million Americans out of work. The rate has continued to hover around a historic 10 percent as the economy struggles to recover. So far 2.5 million people have been affected by the June 2 lapse in unemployment benefits, which provides about $309 a week to those out of work. The unemployment insurance package, which expired on June 2, would extend benefits until Nov. 30.
Those who have been out of work for 99 days or more are not eligible for the benefits, raising the question of what can be done for the long-term unemployed, who make up nearly half of the U.S. jobless.