Though applications for unemployment benefits remained elevated for the week of November 12, the U.S. Labor Department said that first-time benefits fell by 41,000 to 410,000, only partially offsetting the surge of applications that arose in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. During that period a few weeks ago, applications jumped by 90,000 to 451,000 marking an 18-month peak. Unemployment applications may be filed in the case that an employer is forced to close and employees go unpaid as occurred to nearly 44,000 people in New York and 31,000 people in New Jersey.
Economists are predicting that the storm will be shown to have slowed job growth in November due to temporarily increased layoffs and delayed hiring. One estimate has job gains falling to 25,000 this month from 171,000 in October. But as the effects of the storm pass, some jobs may even be created as rebuilding efforts mount. The job market did experience increased hiring in October and gained an average of 174,000 jobs per month during Q3 2012.
Another positive economic note is the continual housing recovery, which may lead to more hiring as the economic confidence of home builders rose to its highest level in more than six years. Some economists are also now predicting an annual growth rate of approximately 3 percent during Q3 2012, up from the initial 2 percent estimate. However, others calculate the economy growing at a rate under 2 percent for Q4 2012, far too slow to improve the unemployment condition.