The U.S. Labor Department Wednesday said first-time jobless benefits claims dropped back close to where they were before Hurricane Sandy.
First-time claims dropped by 25,000 in the week, bringing initial claims in the week to 370,000. Before Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast in late October, claims had hit a multiyear low of 369,000.
On Wednesday, Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said the hurricane, which hit the East Coast in late October was responsible for wiping out an estimated 86,000 jobs. "The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm," Zandi said in a statement.
The four-week rolling average for the week was 408,000, an increase of 2,500 from the previous week.
The unadjusted advance number of first-time unemployment benefits claims under state programs totaled 498,619 for the week, an increase of 139,678 from the previous week, the Labor Department said.
There were 528,793 initial benefits claims in the comparable week in 2011, the department's Employment and Training Administration said.