MarketWatch (11/21/12) Greg Robb
First-time applications for unemployment benefits declined sharply last week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today, but the number of new claims filed remains at high levels due to the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy. Initial jobless claims dropped by 41,000 to a seasonally adjusted 410,000 in the week ended Nov. 17. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims would fall to 418,000. Applications for jobless benefits soared in the prior week as the late-season superstorm slammed into the Northeast. Claims rose a revised 90,000 to 451,000 in the prior week, up from the initial estimate of a 78,000 increase to 439,000. A less volatile measure of claims, the four-week moving average, rose by 9,500 to 396,250.