Reclaiming Common Sense

October Unemployment Values during May

The weekly unemployment report used to be headline news. Not anymore. It should be plastered across websites and newspapers. The weekly report includes data on the Seasonally Adjusted (SA) and Non-seasonally Adjusted (NSA) First-time Unemployment (FTU) and Continuing Claims (CC) data. Normally there is a low level of NSA CC and FTU values during May and an even lower set of values during the first week of October. We are experiencing October Values during May.

Continuing Claims Dropped to a 46 year low for the month of May. We have fewer continuing claims now than we had during the week of May 29, 1971. We are near the May 1970 low of 1.639 million. We are approaching the November 1988 low of 1.542 million continuing claims. Last week's continuing claims value was revised down from 1,787,578 to 1,786,443. This week it dropped to 1,759,793. The silence is deafening.

First-time Claims back up to 225,526 - close Level recorded May 30, 1970. Yes, the first-time claims number have climbed the past two weeks, from 206,972 to 210,395 and now 225,526. First-time claims are needed to "feed" continuing claims.There is no sound in a vacuum.

These claim levels bode well for next month's jobs report. Tomorrows Jobs Report for May should reveal a decrease in unemployment and an increase in both jobs and workers. We need to pay attention to the growth rates and the seasonal factors. We also have to pay attention to the revisions. If last month's data is revised higher this will dilute this month's job and worker additions. The Current Population Survey (CPS) jobs data is rarely revised. The Current Employment Statistics data has advance, preliminary, and final data. If last month's data is revised downward then there will be a big bump for May.

It's the economy.