The devastation from Hurricane Sandy did not impact the job market in October. But it may be a different story in November.
That's because the government conducts its household jobs survey, which is used to tabulate stats like the workforce and unemployment rate, during the calendar week that includes the 12th of the month. The storm hit the East Coast far too late to have an impact on the October survey, but any Sandy effect will be felt in the November report.
October's jobs report, which showed the economy added 171,000 jobs and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%, came Friday as storm victims were still reeling. The government included a special note in the report to explain that Sandy "had no discernable effect " on the October unemployment rate and workforce data, as they were collected before the storm.
Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey coast on Monday, October 29, more than two weeks after the employment survey for the month. But the survey for the November jobs report, which will be conducted the week of the 12th and released on December 7, may very well show job losses related to Sandy.
New Jersey and New York were especially devastated, with many coastal homes and businesses wiped off the map. Some small businesses in those states may have to close their doors permanently, leaving their employees without work. Others may be able to rebuild, but that could take months in some cases.
That will likely lead to temporary layoffs, said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. But he thinks they'll be offset by temporary hiring for the relief effort.
"It's an odd thing, but destruction begets growth because of rebuilding," Carnevale said, adding that Sandy "probably won't affect the overall unemployment rate."
Temporary layoffs don't count toward the unemployment rate, Carnevale added, but temporary hiring is sometimes included as it can be categorized as part-time work. He doesn't expect permanent layoffs will be widespread enough to move the barometer significantly, noting that "while Sandy hit a big part of the country, it's still only one part of the country."
The monthly jobs report has highlighted the nation's continued struggle to recover from the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. Roughly 12.3 million people remain unemployed, 40.6% of whom have been out of a job for more than six months.