There is no indication that states are carrying extra claims from Hurricane Sandy, comments from the Labor Department that point to trouble in the jobs market. Initial claims fell 23,000 in the November 24 week to 393,000. If this level does not include extra claims related to the storm, then comparison against the month-ago total looks to be a fair one. Readings in late October, before the storm hit, show claims at 363,000 with the four-week average at 367,250. The current four-week average is over 400,000 at 405,250.
Continuing claims also show an increase compared to late October. Continuing claims for data in the November 17 week total 3.287 million, which is down a substantial 70,000 from the prior week but is still up 25,000 from the month-ago comparison. The four-week average of 3.296 million is up 56,000 from a month ago. The unemployment rate for insured workers is at 2.6 percent for a third straight week, showing a 1 tenth gain following the storm.
The storm has badly rattled weekly jobless claims data and are making them very hard to read. This will put special emphasis on other advanced signals on the November jobs market including ADP's estimate.