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Jobless Claims Up on Impact of Charley

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The number of new people signing up for jobless benefits rose last week, reflecting the impact of Hurricane Charley, which recently tore through Florida.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for unemployment insurance increased by a seasonally adjusted 10,000 to 343,000 for the week ending Aug. 21. Half of the 10,000 rise was attributed to claims stemming from the hurricane, a Labor Department analyst said.

The increase in claims last week was larger than the rise economists were expecting. Some predicted that claims would increase by around 4,000. The 343,000 level of claims was the highest since July 24.

Many Florida businesses were damaged by the Aug. 13 hurricane, which caused an estimated $7.4 billion in insured damage to homes, businesses and personal possessions - more than any other hurricane in Florida since Andrew in 1992.