Following Sandy, unemployment filings up sharply in N.J.

    When Superstorm Sandy swept through coastal areas, it also swept through the labor market.

    New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development said it received an additional 84,000 claims compared with November 2011.

    That’s on top of about 600 residents filing for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, which helps people such as the self-employed who can’t qualify for regular benefits.

    That’s a big number, says James Hughes, dean of the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. While Hughes says jobs should start to bounce back this month, he adds that there is no precedent for the storm damage, so it’s hard to know what the long-term recovery will look like.

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    “Particularly with the time spent on infrastructure rebuilding,” said Tuesday. “We’ll see some recovery there, but all that depends on how insurance payments, FEMA payments, and whether households have enough financial capacity to bridge the gap.”

    The Department of Labor says it will not have unemployment statistics for November until later this month.

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