Reclaiming Common Sense

Thursday is Unemployment Claims Report Day. The Seasonally Adjusted (SA) First-time Unemployment (FTU) claims number used to be a headline piece of news. Station breaks were scheduled to return by 8:31 A.M. on Thursdays. People "used to salivate" when the SA FTU Claims number was under 300,000. Continuing Claims (CC) numbers received some attention when their SA CC value were below 2 million. Meanwhile, people are ignoring reality: The Non-seasonally adjusted components of this data. The report can be found here.

First-time Claims Recorded a Decline, Reported an Increase in Numbers. The first time claims number was recorded at 215,041 claims and reported at 236,000. The NSA FTU value was revised last week to 211,309 from 211,287. The SA FTU was 238,000. First-time claims normally bottom out around Labor Day week. Will we drop to 175,000 claims? Will it be reported?

Continuing Claims Recorded a Decline, Reported a Decline in Numbers. The continuing claims number lags the FTU claims number by one week. We are at the lowest level of Continuing Claims for the final week of April since 2000. We are already lower than we were during the final week of May last year. The NSA CC dropped from last week's 1.951 million to 1.8523 million. How low can this number go? Could we drop below 1.7 million by the end of September or the first week of October? Will this be reported.

The first-time claims number is dropping because people are finding work.
We have seen the most jobs created during the first three months of a President since Reagan under President Trump. They have been low due to the elevated level of part-time jobs since the beginning of the recession, due to seasonal full-time jobs replacing permanent full-time jobs, and because people are working multiple jobs.(More on the Multiple Job Worker Data later today.) Part-time workers don't receive unemployment benefits and neither do seasonal full-time workers. If people who work multiple jobs lose a job they are still employed. They is no underemployment insurance.

The continuing claims number is dropping because the first-time claims levels are so low.
You need that first claim to receive continuing claims. Once again, people are finding work. We will know in two weeks the direction of the continuing claims level for the May Jobs Report.

If nobody reports record low levels of first-time claims and continuing claims are they really happening? Pay attention to the non-seasonally adjusted data. If it bleeds, it leads. If it is good news, meh.

It's the economy.