Jobless Claims Jump to 439,000
The Labor Department reported that, as expected, Superstorm Sandy is having a big impact on the labor market in the New York/New Jersey area as weekly claims for unemployment insurance jumped by 78,000 for the week ending November 10th. This was the biggest surge since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005 and jobless claims are now at their highest level in over 18 months.
While media reports were quick to blame Sandy for the surge, it’s worth noting that in the report sections identifying states with an increase/decrease of more than 1,000, the combined change for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (where the impact of the storm was cited) accounted for an increase of just 5,217.
What’s also interesting is that last week’s 439,000 total exceeded the worst week of the Hurricane Katrina impact seven years ago as jobless claims peaked at 421,000 in September of 2005. Back then, weekly claims were in the low 300,000 range rather than the mid-to-upper 300,000 range, so, that surge was even bigger than what was seen last week, however, Sandy’s impact is likely to be felt for at least a few more weeks.