RSTORM Sandy drove a surge in new claims for US jobless benefits last week and hit factory activity in November, providing early signs of how heavily the storm could hit the world’s largest economy in the fourth quarter.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 78,000 to a seasonally adjusted 439,000, the highest level since April 2011, figures from the Labor Department showed.
It was the biggest one-week jump since the spike caused by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.
Separately, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index slumped to -10.7 from 5.7 the month before indicating a fall in output.
Analysts hope the impact on the economy will be short-lived, but the storm still represents a blow to growth.