Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

.Today, the weekly unemployment claims report was released. You may not have heard this anywhere else. Today there were massive revisions made to the seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims data from January 2012 to date. This is why this column makes its projections on the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data. The  NSA Data is what is recorded. The SA data is what is reported. The Seasonal Factors (SF) used to convert the NSA data to the SA Data are different between First-time Claims(FTU) and Continuing Claims(CC.) The seasonal factors change from week to week, month to month, season to season, and year to year. Today, all of the seasonally adjusted data was revised from January 2012 to today's data. Crickets in the media.


The Unadjusted First-time Claims Jumped by 15,000, so the Seasonally Adjusted Claims level eased up by 3,000. Last week's 236,000 SA FTU number was revised up to 243,000. The prior week's data was revised from 243,000 to 249,000. The data that was reported and used for President Obama's Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims Streak  (which technically was still on-going) should be over 2 years old at this time. This means that it started during March of 2015.  This column wrote a four-part series regarding the "start" of the streak.  It did not start during March of 2015. It didn't start during June of 2015. It didn't start during September of 2015.It may have started after January of 2016. According to the revisions to the SA FTU data it came close to ending during May of 2016. Whenever it started, it ended this past November. Or did it? The revisions pegged the SA FTU data for November 19, 2016 at 248,000 versus the original SA FTU of 251,000. Reality was 288,000 NSA FTU.  The NSA FTU value for this week was virtually identical to last year's value. Are claims low because people are working part-time jobs, or multiple jobs, and when they lose those jobs they do not qualify for unemployment benefits?


The Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims number could have been reported over 260,000. This is still "good" because it is under 300,000. How strong would the press be reporting 225,000 claims if they reported the NSA FTU number? A seventeen year low?


The Continuing Claims data edged down to under 2.3 million. The continuing claims data is artificially low because the FTU claims level is artificially low. The SA CC value could have been reported at 1.989 million instead of today's 2.000 million. Imagine those headlines. It is all smoke and mirrors.


It's the economy.