With the data reflecting the impact of the major disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by much more than anticipated in the week ended November 10th.
The report showed that jobless claims jumped to 439,000, an increase of 78,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 361,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 376,000 from the 355,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The much bigger than expected increase lifted jobless claims to their highest level since coming in at 464,000 in the week ended April 30, 2011.
However, the data was distorted by the impact of Hurricane Sandy, with several states in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions reporting large increases due to the storm.
Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist at BMO Capital Markets, said, "Note that initial claims briefly spiked by more than 100,000 after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. We should see a full retracement of this increase in coming weeks."
"Claims had drifted down in recent weeks, though levels are consistent with moderate, rather than strong, job growth," he added.
The Labor Department said that the less volatile four-week moving average climbed to 383,750 from the previous week's revised average of 372,000.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose to 3.334 million in the week ended November 3rd from the preceding week's revised level of 3.163 million.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also increased to 3,254,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,236,750.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department released a separate report showing that U.S. employment rose by more than economists had anticipated in the month of October, although the report also showed an uptick by the unemployment rate.
by RTT Staff Writer
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