UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS FALL: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That could be a sign layoffs are declining and the job market is slowly improving.
SANDY DISTORTION: Officials cautioned that the figures were distorted by Superstorm Sandy. Applications declined in one state because power outages prevented officials from receiving applications. And some people who could not go to work because of the storm sought benefits.
COULD RISE: The storm will likely distort applications for several more weeks, most likely by pushing them higher, economists said.