Jobless Claims: Booming Biz in Bust Era

Getting laid off, sorting out the paperwork and figuring out how you'll make ends meet on an unemployment check is hard enough. Now, enter a company called Talx, whose job it is to manage unemployment claims on behalf of the companies doing mass layoffs. Most former employees who have worked with them feel that their idea of "managing" is to make it infinitely more difficult to file a claim and get your first check.

Owned by credit-rating behemoth Equifax, Talx claims to handle more than 30% of the nation's requests for jobless benefits. Its fees are paid by the firm doing the layoffs, and major US companies such as Aetna, AT&T, Best Buy, FedEx, Home Depot, Marriott, McDonald's, the Postal Service, Cargill, Target, Tyson Foods, WalMart and Wells Fargo have used it.