More Americans than forecast submitted claims for unemployment insurance last week as superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market.
Applications for jobless benefits surged by 78,000 to 439,000 in the week ended Nov. 10, the most since April 2011, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Several states said the increase was due to the storm that hit the Northeastern part of the U.S. in late October, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released to the press.
The extent of the damage means it may take weeks for the underlying trend in firings to again become clear. Before the storm, the labor market was gaining momentum even as year-end domestic fiscal policy uncertainties raised concern among businesses.
“Based on previous extreme-weather episodes, we typically see the associative claims coming in over several weeks,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics Ltd. in Valhalla, New York, said before the report. “It’s not a booming labor market, but it is a recovering labor market. Certainly prior to the storm, there was no sign that there was any deterioration.”
Stock-index futures dropped after the report, erasing earlier gains. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in December fell 0.2 percent to 1,350.30 at 8:47 a.m. in New York.
Sandy struck the Northeast region, including New York and New Jersey, as it came ashore Oct. 29, and those who lost their jobs because the storm shuttered businesses may keep filing claims in coming weeks.
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