For the second consecutive week, the number of unemployment claims in the U.S. dropped, despite the effects of Sandy still looming. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that jobless claims dropped 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000.

The four-week moving average for new claims jumped 7,500 from the previous week to 405,250, marking the highest level since October 2011.

While Superstorm Sandy made it difficult to detect what’s really happening in the labor market by distorting initial claims data, the advance number of actual initial unadjusted claims under state programs decreased 46,541 from the previous week. Year-over-year the numbers dropped by 15,625 initial claims.

“The storm has badly rattled weekly jobless claims data and are making them very hard to read,” said Econoday. “This will put special emphasis on other advanced signals on the November jobs market including ADP's estimate.”

As a result of Sandy, New York reported fewer layoffs in the construction, transportation and food service industries.

The Labor Department’s report notably revealed that the number of people who still receive benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid dropped 70,000 to 3.29 million last week.