Here’s How Hurricane Sandy Affected Jobs

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The effects of the super storm Sandy, which hit the East Coast late last month, left tens of thousands of people out of work. As the United States Department of Labor jobless report shows, the initial claims for state unemployment benefits are at their highest level in 1 1/2-years.

The number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits rose 78,000 to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 for the week of November 10, missing Reuters’ forecast of 375,000. Both Connecticut and New Jersey reported that the initial claims increase was due to Hurricane Sandy. Although the storm affected New York as well, the state said that claims decreased because “state systems were unable to take claims from claimants.”

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Continuing claims for jobless benefits also rose. For the week ended November 3, the Labor Department said that claims increased by 17,750 to a seasonally adjusted 3.255 million, the highest level since July 2008.

Economist say that the effects of the storm could lower the United States’ growth rate in the fourth quarter by 0.2 percent, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. However, the losses are expected to be made up early next year as the area damaged by the storm is rebuilt.

With the election over, the most pressing problem facing President Obama and lawmakers in Washington is the year-end deadline for tax cuts and government spending that will require key decisions on jobs, the deficit, and taxes. Speaking from the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, President Obama said that the nation’s “top priority has to be jobs and growth.”

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