“Jobless Claims in U.S. Jumped Last Week After Sandy” (Bloomberg): Unemployment benefit applications jumped from 78,000 to 439,000 after Sandy. This is a result of both the physical inability of people to file claims during the storm and also a repercussion of the storm itself. Forecasters were anywhere between 300,000 to 450,000 and claim there are several other factors affecting the rise in filings, but the main cause is the storm and its electricity outages.
However, as a previous post claimed, “While pushing up claims, the storm may bolster homebuilders and other housing repair companies. Sandy’s damage could spur a sales boost similar to the one provided by Hurricane Irene, which added about $360 million in sales last year.”
But with $20 billion in damage, “The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits climbed by 171,000 to 3.33 million in the week ended Nov. 3, the most in more than four years.” Bernanke and the Fed choose to keep interest rates at close to 0, reported in their October meeting released yesterday.