In December 2001 a group of us went to a conference room in a high rise tower in Fairfax, Va. We knew it was coming. Layoffs.

It wasn’t that we hadn’t worked hard. We had. Instead our company bought a competitor with similar technology and our product was killed. And so the team that worked on it was let go. Another casualty of the dot-com bubble.

Companies all over the U.S. may be going through similar meetings as they lay off workers in 2008.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that 407,000 new people filed for unemployment benefits last week, a 38,000 person increase over the week ending March 22. Those are seasonally adjusted figures.

As of March 15, the states with the highest numbers of people filing for unemployment insurance were Alaska, Michigan, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania both reported layoffs in the transportation industry. Other Wisconsin industries hit included the construction, trade, service and manufacturing industries. In Pennsylvania, electrical equipment, food, and public administration let people go. reports that the jobless claims are the highest since September 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina.

If you’ve lost your job make sure you understand what expenses you have coming up and if you have enough money to cover them. Look at your budget and cut out what you can. Get the word out and network so you can get a new job faster. Try to stay optimistic – when one door closes another opens as they say.

April 3, 2008.