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Sandy Causes Jobless Claims Surge

After yesterday’s unexpected drop in US retail sales the ramifications of Superstorm Sandy continued today as a report compiled by the Labour Department showed a 78,000 surge in claims for jobless benefit.

With Superstorm Sandy devastating the job market those affected continue to submit unemployment insurance claims and several North-eastern states have cited the natural disaster as the primary reason for this week’s claims increase.

Although economists expected claims to rise to 375,000 in the week ending November 10th they actually leapt to 439,000 – the most for 19 months.

The less volatile four-week moving average also increased from 372,000 to 383,750.

Additionally, the amount of individuals continuing to receive jobless benefit leaped to 3.33 million, a rise of 171,000 and the biggest jump for over four years.

Only 19 states/territories reported a decrease in claims while 34 posted an increase.

The unemployment rate among those people qualified to receive benefits rose from 2.5 per cent by 0.1 per cent.

Although the labour market appeared to be improving prior to Sandy the sheer scale of the damage caused by the freak storm makes it difficult to assess current trends in firings and redundancies.

Chief US economist with New York based High Frequency Economics Jim O’Sullivan commented before the report: ‘It’s not a booming labour market, but it is a recovering labour market. Certainly prior to the storm, there was no sign that there was any deterioration.’

Today’s data is far from conclusive however as Monday was a public holiday and several states – including Oregon and Hawaii – were unable to file their claims statistics leaving the Labour Department to rely on estimations.

As of 14:30 pm

The Pound to Euro exchange rate is currently trading at 1.2405

The Pound to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.5844

The Pound to Australian Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.5337

The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.2772

The Euro to Pound exchange rate is currently trading at 0.8060

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