U.S. Jobless Claims Decline as Harvey Impact Fades in TexasBy
Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly declined last week as the Hurricane Harvey-related surge in Texas filings continued to reverse, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.
Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week ended Sept. 16)
Applications for unemployment insurance last week were estimated for South Carolina and the Virgin Islands. While Irma smashed into Florida’s west coast on Sept. 10, its effect on the job market in the Sunshine State was modest -- up an unadjusted 5,133 from the previous week -- compared with Harvey’s impact on Texas.
Claims in Texas declined by an unadjusted 23,549 last week.
Swings in the figures may continue for several weeks, following the pattern seen after major storms such as Sandy in the Northeast in 2012. Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
The volatility in jobless applications will probably prove temporary as those in storm-affected areas return to work. The Atlantic hurricane season has nonetheless upended a trend that saw dismissals near the lowest level in more than four decades. Subdued filings were a sign employers were averse to firing people amid a shortage of qualified workers.
- Prior week’s reading was revised to 282,000 from 284,000
- Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4 percent, where it’s been since April
- Labor said claims in Florida and Puerto Rico were affected by Irma
— With assistance by Chris Middleton