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Commuters make their way through Times Square during a snowstorm Friday in New York City. In what has been an exceedingly snowy winter for the Northeast, New York may receive more than a foot of snow in the next two days.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday said initial unemployment insurance claims increased by 22,000 to 496,000 from the previous week. These figures in part represent the negative impact of bad weather on jobs in various industries, including construction.


A front-loader equipped with a large plow clears the area around the gates while crews, in the background, work to de-ice a plane at Newark Liberty International Airport Thursday in Newark, N.J. The storm has been responsible for more than 2,000 flight delays across the country, and a reported 1,000 alone in New York City airports.

Airline analyst Hunter Keay at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets says it's still too early to tell what kind of impact the heavy snow will have on the airline industry. There certainly will be a cost-impact related to staff and de-icing, but "airlines are certainly budgeted for this kind of situation," Keay says.


Commuters trudge through the snow in Bryant Park during a snowstorm in midtown Manhattan Friday. The snowstorm rocked the city and the surrounding areas overnight, making the morning commute difficult.

During New York's prior February blizzard, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it would cost taxpayers $1 million for each inch that fell.


A person rides a bicycle across Broad Street in view of City Hall during the snowstorm in Philadelphia.

The disappointing unemployment claims numbers published Thursday -- partially blamed on the bad weather -- are definitely worrying economists. "The downward trend in jobless claims appears to have flattened out at a still historically high level," said Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, according to

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. "That is not good for the employment outlook."


Employees shovel snow off a sidewalk in front of businesses as pedestrians make their way during the snowstorm in Brooklyn today.

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Barnanke noted during his Senate testimony that the snow will likely impact the employment data and to be "particularly careful about not overinterpreting the data."

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