Nearly a month ago, Sandy slammed onshore and ruined things for a lot of people on the East Coast. The job market has now officially fallen victim as well, with unemployment claims hitting 410,000 today—the second straight week the number has hovered above 400,000. That isn't good. The number that economists say we're looking for is a number below 400,000—they say that's the threshold for a healthy economy. And to put it in perspective, the job market was actually doing pretty well in staying below that mark before Sandy hit: on October 11, we were at 339,000—the lowest the jobless-claims number had been in four years.
The good news, if there's any, is that this week's increase in unemployment claims can largely be attributed to Sandy itself and aren't some indicator of a new general economic malaise felt across the country—we'll see the official numbers when the first post-election jobs report comes out on December 7. According to the Department of Labor, the two states hit hardest by last month's were also hit by today's numbers: New York saw 43,956 new jobless claims and New Jersey 31,094. The Washington Post's Alex Kowalski reported on November 8, Sandy's effect on the jobless claims would be felt up to four weeks.