The number of new unemployment benefits claims filed nationwide increased by 32,000 in late September, a spike at least partially attributable to layoffs that followed hurricanes Gustav and Ike. That brought total late September unemployment claims to 493,000.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the hurricanes’ aftermath idled approximately 50,000 workers in Louisiana and Texas.
The late September jump in unemployment claims followed a 16,000 increase in the number of claims filed during the second week of September, during which 461,000 newly unemployed workers filed claims with state agencies.
The total number of first-time claims filed in late September was the highest since 2001, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.