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News Summary: Sandy Drives Up US Jobless Claims

The Associated Press

CLAIMS SURGE: 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.

STORM DAMAGE: The Labor Department said 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.

MORE DISTORTIONS AHEAD: Economists expect applications will fall back after the impact of the storm passes. But Sandy could distort the unemployment applications figures for two more weeks, Labor Department officials have said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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