Unemployment Claims In Pennsylvania and Ohio Spike due to Sandy

job lossesThe media will either overlook, or just not report on the spike in the first time unemployment, which is at its maximum in 18 months. While some first time filers were in New Jersey, and influenced by Hurricane Sandy, that number was offset by the DECREASE in first time filings in New York. Instead, two big battleground states that voted for Obama in the past election saw the maximum number of PA unemployment filings, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These states voted for Obama and are therefore enjoying the consequences. These states had little impact from Hurricane Sandy. The reason for the spike in filings was because of thousands of layoffs in the manufacturing, construction, and automobile industries.

Initial claims, which totaled 361,000 in the former week, climbed by 78,000 to 439,000, the highest reading since April, 2011.

“After a storm, the data is distorted to some extent, depending on the magnitude and geography of the disaster,” said Nathaniel Karp, chief economist for BBVA Compass. “Given what happened with Sandy,” he predicted, “we will see higher volatility in many indicators for a couple of months until everything begins to normalize.”

The four week moving average of initial claims, a measure that many economists support because it smoothes out short-term fluctuations, increased 17,750 to 383,750 from the former week’s revised average of 372,000. That’s a little worse reading than the year-ago moving average, which was 393,750.

The report indicated that the financial system is still growing below trend and trying to pick up some of lost momentum. While the government lately reported that 171,000 jobs were created last month, Karp said, such positive developments must take place at a quicker pace to make a difference.

“It can be somewhat frustrating, as we would like to see a stronger recovery, but at least we are moving forward,” said Karp.

The count of people continuing to obtain jobless benefits ascended in the week ended November 3 to 3.3 million, the maximum level since July of 2008, and 171,000 more than the previous week.

Sandy’s damage has not yet been fully reflected in the jobs data, the Labor Department said: Power outages from the storm have detained processing of

Sandy’s damage hasn’t yet been fully reflected in the jobs data, the Labor Department said: Power outages from the storm have delayed processing of first and emergency claims in hard-hit areas.

The states with the maximum unemployment filings were Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Michigan. Ohio and Pennsylvania processed more claims than states hit by Sandy, due to construction layoffs.

“The construction industry is still under a severe recession,” said Tom Owens, director of communications at America’s Building Trade Unions.

“With government projects finishing up and the winter season coming on, we usually have a spike in unemployment,” said Owens.

In the unadjusted data, the labor department reported 4.9 million claims for the week ended October 27, a 2% decrease from the prior week. The total number is also a 26% decrease from those claiming unemployment in the week of 2011.

The report, along with the government’s fiscal-deficit situation, may increase pressure on policy makers to produce a sustainable U.S fiscal plan.

To calculate your benefits click on PA Unemployment Calculator.