Thursday, September 22, 2005

US jobless claims hit by Katrina

BBC NEWS | Business | US jobless claims hit by Katrina

US jobless claims hit by Katrina The number of Americans out of work and seeking benefits as a result of Hurricane Katrina has risen to 214,000, according to US government figures.

The news came as jobless claims rose by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 432,000 in the week ending September 17.

About 103,000 of the claims in the previous week were related to Katrina, the US Department of Labor said.

Katrina hit the US Gulf Coast in late August, causing widespread devastation and the mass evacuation of New Orleans.

The storm, which was the country's most expensive natural disaster, flooded much of the city, which supported about 600,000 jobs before Katrina struck.

The total bill for federal government relief in the wake of the storm could reach as much as $200bn (£112bn), analysts believe.

Many of the jobless claims in the region were being processed in mobile offices at shelters, and a spokesman warned that upward revisions to the claims total caused by Katrina were possible.

Initial claims in the week ending September 10 were revised up by 26,000 to 424,000, the Labor department said.

News of the rising jobless claims caused by last month's storm came as more than one million people began evacuating the US Gulf Coast ahead of Hurricane Rita.

The hurricane, which has been upgraded to Category Five storm, is heading towards Texas with winds of 175mph (280km/h) - greater than those of Katrina when it hit land.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


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