US weekly jobless claims jumped by 78,000 in one week in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which both interrupted reporting and forced people out of work in the northeast, Labor Department data showed Thursday.
New claims for unemployment insurance, a signal of the pace of layoffs, rose to 439,000 in the week to November 10 from the previous week's figure of 361,000.
"Several states have experienced large increases of initial claims as a result of Hurricane Sandy," a Labor Department official said of the sharp rise.
Sandy blasted the northeastern coast of the United States at the end of October and beginning of November, shutting down major cities, leaving millions without power for days, and wrecking homes and businesses in many communities.
The weekly figure was far above the 360,000-380,000 range for claims of the past year, and pulled the four-week moving average higher, to 383,850.