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Washington - Superstorm Sandy Pushes Jobless Claims to 439K

Published on: November 15, 2012 09:00 AM
By: AP
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 A worker directs a truckload of debris and garbage from damaged homes at a makeshift dump in a parking lot as the area continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Lido Beach, New York, USA, on 13 November 2012.  EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT A worker directs a truckload of debris and garbage from damaged homes at a makeshift dump in a parking lot as the area continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Lido Beach, New York, USA, on 13 November 2012.  EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT

Washington - Superstorm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 78,000 mostly because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.

The storm has affected the claims data for the past two weeks and may distort reports for another two weeks, the department has said.


The four-week average of applications, a less volatile number, increased to 383,750.

Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 29 and disrupted businesses from North Carolina to Maine. The storm also cut power to roughly 8 million homes and businesses. Some are still without power.

Before the storm distorted the figures, weekly applications had fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 since January. At the same time, employers have added an average of nearly 157,000 jobs a month. That’s barely enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 7.9 percent in October.

There are some signs that the job market is improving. Employers added 171,000 jobs in October and hiring in August and September was stronger than first estimated. The economy has gained an average of 173,000 jobs a month since July. That’s up from an average of 67,000 a month in April through June.

The unemployment rate rose slightly in October from 7.8 percent in the previous month because more Americans began looking for work. That suggest some felt their chances of finding a job had improved. Not all of them found jobs, which pushed up the unemployment rate. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching for work.

The economy appears to have grown faster over the summer than first thought, based on a handful of positive September reports on inventory growth and trade released this month. Many economists now predict growth at an annual rate of roughly 3 percent in the July-September quarter, up from the initial estimate of 2 percent reported last month.

The government releases its second estimate for third-quarter growth on Nov. 29.

Still, many economists say the economy is growing in the current October-December quarter at a weak annual rate below 2 percent.

The storm combined with cautious consumers to lower retail sales in October. Consumers may also be holding back because of anxiety over big tax increases and spending cuts — known as the “fiscal cliff” — that will take effect in January unless Congress and the White House reach a budget deal by then. Many companies are likely to scale back hiring and investment, too, until the fiscal cliff debate is resolved.

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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »


 Nov 15, 2012 at 09:28 AM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Great. Now we get to watch people come on here & somehow blame the President for the Hurricane happening in the 1st place, by claiming he's responsible for the sudden increase in joblessness! lol The conspiracy theories never end! Next, they'll want Hurricane Sany's birth certificate!

We all need to just COME TOGETHER as a nation & help our countrmen\women out when we see jobless #'s like this, due to a natural disaster! I really HAVE seen people actually try to clame the President for the Hurricane. No joke.

And even though I may have lol'd at the conspiracy theorists out there...the people losing everything to this Hurricane aren't laughing, and I doubt they appreciate some of the nonsense claims floating around out there, as to why they've just lost it all.

And that's my point! Please...no conspiracy theories about the jobless #'s this week! No stupid bickering about who's "rigged" things this time. I can assure you, if the Labor & Industries Bureau *could* rig anything...they would have been making the #'s look a LOT better for the President these past 2years, don't you think?

I just feel bad for the people. We've been going through the house & boxing up too-small or not-worn-very-much clothing to send to the NJ & NY areas, to help be a benefit to the Jewish communities over there eventually. (Hopefully!)

And this is the sort of thing we've all got to pull-together & do! Our fellow brethren are hurting & depending on the rest of Us for help! And rather than always whining about "moochers" who need this & "takers" who take that... let's just all be grateful for what WE still have & GIVE!


 Nov 15, 2012 at 10:29 AM Kleegerfinyaydem Says:

When the rates go down its Obama's credit, and anyone saying some sort of reason why it's not is just "extreme" or an "entertainer" etc., but when the rates go up that's someone else's problem! Then Bush comes into the picture, then sandy is proven guilty, and dare you say otherwise!! I mean come on Sherry, Sandy is the problem?! It should have just the opposite, there is a lot to fix and repair so many more people should be able to find jobs, dude!! The real reason the rate when up is cause it never went down to begin with!! Obama needed those statistics for the election and now things can swing back to its original position, which is people not being able to find jobs, country sunk in debt, inflation rising, stock market crashing, and so on!!!


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