WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- The number of people seeking unemployment benefits reached its highest level in 18 months, and Superstorm Sandy is to blame.
The Labor Department says 439,000 applied for the benefits last week. Applications increased by 78,000 because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. The agency says people can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don't get paid.
Experts say the storm may alter claims for another two weeks.
Before the storm, applications fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 this year. At the same time, employers added an average of nearly 157,000 jobs a month. The national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in October.
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