Jobless claims fall following Sandy surge

Jobless claims fall following Sandy surge

POSTED: Friday, November 23, 2012 - 4:00pm

UPDATED: Friday, November 23, 2012 - 4:04pm

Claims for unemployment benefits fell last week following an earlier surge related to Superstorm Sandy.

About 410,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits during the week ending November 17, down 41,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Revised data show during the week ending November 10 initial claims spiked by 90,000, the largest increase in a single week since September 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Superstorm Sandy hit the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area on October 29, causing widespread and prolonged power outages that resulted in a delay in those filing for first-time unemployment benefits. It also caused temporary layoffs for others as their employers were forced to close.

Hourly and contract workers who weren't being paid while they were out of work could file for unemployment benefits, even if the layoffs were temporary.

It will likely take a few more weeks before initial claims fall back to pre-storm levels. In the four weeks before Sandy, it was common for the states to process an average of 367,000 new claims for unemployment benefits each week.

The national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in October, as 12.3 million people were counted as officially unemployed. However, not all of those people receive benefits.

As of the latest week available, 3.3 million people filed claims for their second week or more of jobless benefits. That's down almost 300,000 from a year ago 

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