U.S. weekly jobless claims surged by 71,000 over the past week, with nearly all of the increase attributable to the impact of Hurricane Katrina, the Labor Department said Sept. 15. Weekly claims totaled 398,000, compared with a revised 327,000 in the prior week. The rise was the biggest since January 1996, after a major blizzard, and the level of claims was the highest since September 2003.
A department spokesman said 68,000 of the new claims were "hurricane related" but that many more claims are likely in future weeks. "Due to the unprecedented volume of claims and the unconventional methods used in claim filing, the numbers do not truly reflect the number of claims" to be expected from the storm, the spokesman said. In some cases, mobile units are going into storm-ravaged areas and shelters to ease the filing process for those thrown out of work by the storm. But many of those claims have not been reported to central offices yet.
See IndustryWeek's Hurricane Katrina News & Resources section for more on coverage and how companies are responding.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005