Gov. Andrew Cuomo said yesterday that the state has had a surge in unemployment claims since Superstorm Sandy hit the New York City area last month, up more than 30 percent.
Cuomo said the storm led to more than 46,000 new unemployment claims in the region after the storm hit Oct. 29. That’s on top of the roughly 150,000 that were already receiving unemployment benefits. He later said that the unemployment claims may top 50,000.
The state has gotten federal approval to offer unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs or were temporarily out of work because of the storm. Cuomo warned that the increase in unemployment would hurt the state’s fiscal picture.
“It is too early to calculate the exact impact on the budget. Nobody really knows yet. But it can’t be good,” Cuomo said on 1300-AM (WGDJ) in Albany.
Already, the state is weeks late in releasing its mid-year financial plan. The state has so far kept its books balanced through the fiscal year, which ends March 31. But it’s grappling with a $1 billion budget gap for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and Cuomo suggested on Nov. 8 that the $33 billion cost to New York for the storm could double the budget gap.
Cuomo reiterated the state’s worsening fiscal picture in an WOR-AM interview yesterday with former Gov. David Paterson, who dealt with a $17 billion budget gap in 2009.
“Governor, what I wouldn’t have given for a $1 billion deficit,” Paterson lamented.