Initial Claims Lower Than Expected Due To Hurricane Sandy
Today's initial claims number, as well as that for the next several weeks, will be nothing but noise due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy. This is how UBS' Maury Harris explained the Sandy impact last night: "Hurricane Sandy will undoubtedly cause increased jobless claims. However, as after other hurricanes, there will probably be some lag with many potential claimants either unable to reach the Labor Department or otherwise pre-occupied. Indeed, we expect the hurricane artificially held down claims in the coming report (UBSe 340k, cons 365k after 363k)." Sure enough, today's Claims number came at 355K, below consensus expectations of 365K, and below last week's 353K, driven by the Sandy front-loading distortion as well as Seasonal Adjustments: the NSA claims number rose by 15.5K. No surprise. What is more peculiar is that after over a year of steady declines, those collecting extended benefits continued to rise, increasing by 20K in the past week, which is odd considering these programs have now been largely phased out for new entrants.