Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

Golden Numbers, Plural, during it's Golden Anniversary Year.


The Weekly Unemployment Claims data is the most unloved of the unloved economic reports that are released on a regular basis. Yesterday the ADP Payroll report was released. Ho Hum. The New Home Sales Report - interesting - let's move on the Tax Talk. Existing Home Sales - What salacious Senator can we discuss. Gross Domestic Product? It's above 3% and now let's start a rumor about the "American Kingsmen" that are going to run separately from the CIA, FBI NSA, and all the other Spy Acronyms. The weekly unemployment claims data used to be "the" must know bottom of the hour economic data. Last week the Seasonally Adjusted (SA) First-time Unemployment (FTU) Claims number could have been reported at 190,000 claims, if it was reported anywhere. The week before last this column rehashed the articles from the past two years that detailed how the unemployment claims streak is a FACT (False Assertion Considered to be True) an how the Seasonally Adjusted Employment Streak is also a FACT. What happened this week with regard to the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) FTU number, the SA FTU number and the Continuing Claims Data. Where they Golden Apples for the 50th year of unemployment benefits?


The Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims Number was reported at 236,000. If they would have used the seasonal factors published earlier this year that value would have been 238,000 claims. last week's NSA FTU claim value was revised higher from 224,208 to 224, 879. This is a minor correction. If you examine the NSA FTU graph you can see that there are peaks and valleys. Will we remain under the 412,000 NSA FTU level recorded January of this year when the data is reported during January of 2018?


The Non-seasonally adjusted First-time Claims number was recorded at 325,000. This is the reason why they invented seasonally adjusted data. If the headline was First-time Claims spike by 100,000 claims people who lose their collective mind. If the headline was "Lowest First Week Unemployment Claims data since 1969" the market would be tearing it up higher and higher. The devil is in the seasonal factors. The SA FTU could have been reported as high as 279,000. FACTs are one thing - the truth is another.


The Seasonally Adjusted Continuing Claims data was "reported" at 1.908 million claims. If it was reported. Most people ignore this number. These people are different from the official U-3 unemployment number. The U-3 number includes those people out of work who are looking for a job, whether or not they receive unemployment benefits.  This number


The Seasonally adjusted Continuing Claims number was recorded at  1.948 Million Claims - A Huge Spike form last week - This is Normal. Again, this is why the government invented seasonally adjusted data. If you heard that 330,000 more people received continuing claims you would be concerned. If the Heading was "Lowest Continuing Claims Data for Fourth Week of November since 1969" the market would be rocketing higher than where it is right now.


Fewer unemployed worker normally indicates more employed workers. We had a slide in participation during the Obama years that masked high unemployment levels. Unemployment under 4% with 63% participation is not the same as unemployment under 4% with 67%  participation. It is also not the same as just adding 4% to the unemployment rate. Unemployed workers are considered to be participants. Tomorrow's Jobs Report for November could show a bump up from last month, based on the continuing claims data edging higher than mid October. The U-3 unemployment number could drop to one of the lowest Novembers in a very long time based on the trend of November NSA U3 dropping for October NSA U3 levels since the bottom of the recession.


This report receives no respect. This report turned 50 years old this year. No party favors have been seen. This was a Golden Ticket, for Willy Wonka fans. We are winning. Watch this space tomorrow for the Jobs report data. Watch this space next week for more analysis of the jobs data as it pertains to multiple job workers, men and women workers, sector data, and data by age group.


It's the economy.