Unemployment has hit a 26-year high, the Labor Department reported on Christmas Eve. "First-time applications for state unemployment benefits jumped by 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 586,000 in the week ending Dec. 20," according to MarketWatch—a level not seen since November 1982. "This is a pretty clean number," a Labor Department spokesman said. Noting that layoffs have hit nearly every manufacturing sector, he added: "It's crazy." Consumer spending, meanwhile, slipped 0.6 percent year-to-year.