Hurricanes Leave Half Million Unemployed

Nearly half a million Americans have filed unemployment claims related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to Labor Department reports.

Job Losses From Hurricanes Up to 478,000 (AP)

Another 40,000 Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits last week due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, pushing the total who have lost jobs because of the storms to 478,000.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the 40,000 weekly increase in hurricane-related applications for benefits was down sharply from a rise of 75,000 such claims two weeks ago, evidence that the wave of joblessness caused by the Gulf Coast devastation might finally be cresting.

The hurricanes’ impact on the nation’s unemployment rate has been significant, however, as the total number of Americans receiving jobless assistance rose to 2.89 million, the highest level in more than a year.

A stunning figure. Sadly, while reconstruction will generate many jobs, a good number of the jobs lost to the hurricanes are unlikely to come back any time soon, if ever.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Natural Disasters
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.