Jobless applications fell by 41,000 last week

The storm could continue to shake up the data for another week or two.


New York had an increase in applications of 43,956 because of Sandy, which affected the construction, food service and transportation industries.

In New Jersey, 31,094 claimed benefits because of the storm, which hit across food services, manufacturing, transportation construction and retail, according to the report. 

Pennsylvania had an increase of 7,037 applications from the storm that hit Oct. 29. 

Sandy hit the East Coast at a time when initial claims had been hovering around 375,000, about where economists argue that the labor market is healthy. 

Economists forecast that the storm could create jobs in construction and other sectors of the job market as areas along the coast pick up rebuilding. 

The economy created 171,000 jobs in October as the unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9 percent, mostly because more people jumped back into the workforce but not everyone found jobs. 

The improvement in the housing market is starting to leak into the labor market as construction picks up along with sales. Builder confidence hit a six-year high this week and home sales continue to rise despite tight credit conditions. For those who can obtain a loan, mortgage rates are at all-time lows. 

In a speech on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the nation's recovery from the near-financial collapse has taken longer than expected but the housing and financial markets are providing a boost to the economy.