Hurricane Isaac is blamed for 15,000 rise in US jobless claims

Ben Southwood
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THE number of people who applied for US unemployment benefits jumped sharply last week, mainly because of delayed claims filed by people affected by Tropical Storm Isaac.

The Department of Labor said new claims hit 382,000 for the week ending 8 September, up 15,000 from the previous week, when adjusting for seasonal movements. However, the unadjusted measure fell 12,058 to hit 297,402, the lowest it has been since late September 2007.

The government said more than half the increase, or some 9,000 claims, stemmed from the tropical storm that passed through the Gulf Coast in late August. Some people could not work because of storm damage, but they did not apply for benefits right away, the Department of Labour said.

Also released yesterday was data showing a sharp increase in producer prices, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Finished goods were 1.7 per cent more expensive in August, the index showed, following much more muted increases of 0.3 per cent and 0.1 per cent in July and June. In fact it was the largest monthly rise since June 2009.

This means finished goods are 6.6 per cent more expensive than last August.