There were 439,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 78,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. Behind the big increase: Superstorm Sandy, which threw some people in the Mid-Atlantic onto the unemployment rolls and shut down state unemployment offices the week before — meaning that some claims were postponed into last week.
In other economic news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that consumer prices barely rose last month. The bureau's consumer price index ticked up just 0.1 percent from September. A 0.6 percent drop in gasoline prices was a large factor. In the past 12 months, prices have risen 2.2 percent.