Hurricane Harvey spikes U.S. jobless aid applications to 298K

Hurricane Harvey spikes U.S. jobless aid applications to 298K

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits soared last week by the most in nearly five years, driven by Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Texas and Louisiana. Applications rose by more than 51,000 in Texas, a five-fold increase, and ticked up 258 in Louisiana. Natural disasters historically cause vast increases in applications for benefits. Yet excluding the impact of the storm, data suggests the job market remains strong overall. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, and have hovered at historically low levels for two years. The economy has accelerated recently, fueled by strong consumer spending. It expanded at a 3 percent annual pace, after growing at less than half that rate in the first three months of the year.

 

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