On broken windows and unemployment….

Jobless claims soar! It isn’t Barry’s fault, however. It’s Sandy’s.

Super storm Sandy drove U.S. weekly jobless claims up to 439,000, while consumer prices rose slightly last month as higher rents and costlier food offset cheaper gas.

Super storm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 78,000 mostly because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.

And just two weeks ago we were being told that Sandy would help.

Hiring in the long-depressed U.S. construction industry will get a boost from the rebuilding that will follow Superstorm Sandy. Those jobs, in turn, could raise economic growth, analysts say.

The modest lift to the economy is expected to come in the first months of 2013. Construction firms, contractors and local governments will hire to rebuild or renovate homes, buildings, roads and bridges that were damaged or destroyed.

“This is going to be a net positive, particularly in the mid-Atlantic,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director Moody’s Economy.com.

The broken window fallacy will not die.

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