Initial Claims At Dangerous Extreme

April 12th, 2014
in aa syndication, employment

by Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner

The Department of Labor (DOL) has revamped its reporting system for weekly claims. Perhaps my constant whining about the problem of reporting seasonally adjusted BS has reached their ears.

Follow up:

While they still relegate the actual, not seasonally adjusted data (NSA) to a second page of their weekly report, they are now directly reporting the numerical data for the weekly seasonal fudge pack factor versus the actual weekly change so that we can now know exactly how much distortion the SA factor causes in the SA, headline number that the media loves so well.

Here’s how the DOL put it this week:

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 298,393 in the week ending April 5, an increase of 3,531 (or 1.2 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 34,865 (or 11.8 percent) from the previous week. There were 356,935 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

[Emphasis mine]

As usual, the media reported only the headline seasonally adjusted nonsense. Bloomberg was breathless, proclaiming in 40 point font.

Jobless claims decreased by 32,000 to 300,000 in the week ended April 5, the lowest since May 2007, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The figure was lower than the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 52 economists. The median estimate called for 320,000 claims.

However, the NSA data was at housing bubble extremes for months and we have dutifully been noting that as we watch the data for months. The media is just jumping on the bandwagon now. As for the economists guessing wrong, what else is new? Useless shills.

Initial Claims NSA

Click to enlarge

At 298,000, the actual number of claims was actually much lower for that week of April 2007, when the number of claims was 328,000.  It was the lowest for this week of April since April 2005, as the housing bubble was raging and claims dropped to 294,000. As a percentage of the total number of persons employed (0.22% last week) it was the lowest since April of 2000 (0.23%), at the top of the internet/tech bubble.

Initial Claims Percentage of Total Employed

Click to enlarge

As odd as it sounds this may actually be a danger sign that the distorted, disjointed US economy, with its massive unemployment, underemployment, and shift from high wage to low wage jobs, may actually now be stretched beyond its capacity, given the extreme artificial stimulus that has been applied.

Initial Claims (Inverted) Vs. Stock Prices

Click to enlarge

NOTE: Keep track of the insanity of the Fed, Primary Dealers, the US Treasury, other central banks and a whole cast of nefarious characters as they drive markets in the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition Fed Report and Treasury update. Try the Professional Edition risk free for 30 days!

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