Jobless Claims in U.S. Lower Last Week Than Expected

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits fell last week as the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma faded in several states, according to figures released by the U.S. Labor Department.

Applications for benefits fell by a combined 9,000 in Florida, Georgia and Texas last week before seasonal adjustments, as those states recover from the storms that struck in late August and early September. Claims for Puerto Rico had to be estimated again, as the island copes with severe damage and disruptions from Hurricane Maria.

Experts out of the U.S. protectorate say it could take time for the full impact from the storms to be fully visible in data, as some offices could have been unable to process claims and those who were displaced by the weather take longer to file.

At the same time, the volatility is expected to dissipate as business returns to normal in areas and workers come back. Before the storms, claims were hovering near the lowest level in more than four decades.

The impact from Harvey and Irma probably slowed hiring last month, with economists projecting 80,000 payroll gains -- about half of August’s gain.