Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

Will Anybody Report Good Economic News If It Happens Under              President Trump?

The headline number that most economists and newspeople waited to hear every Thursday mornings for years was the seasonally adjusted (SA) first-time unemployment (FTU) claims number.  a second component of the unemployment claims report is the Continuing Claims (CC) Number. Both components have a SA and a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) component. The seasonal factors change from week to week, month to month, season to season and year to year. WE have had amazing data for the past few years - mostly because the seasonal factors have been fudged - and partly because we have had elevated levels of people working part-time jobs, and partly because we have had elevated levels of people working multiple jobs. What was recorded, NSA, and what was reported, SA for this week?

First-time Claims are at the Lowest for April since April 2000.The weekly unemployment claims report was one of the first topics covered in this column's sister site Reclaiming Common Sense. We have had "historically Low" levels of first-time claims for years. The prior administration promoted FACTs (False Assertions Considered to be True) by comparing unemployment claims data during the month of November with data from the month of April and the other way around. They always compared seasonally adjusted data to seasonally adjusted data. The best way to compare the data is same week data from differnt years, non-seasonally adjusted. Last year was the best year for FTU and CC data since 2000 and this year is better than last year, so far. The NSA FTU data for last week was revised upward from 241,517 to 241,780. This is still significantly lower than the "healthy" level of 300,000 claims.

First-time Claims Spike during January and July, Bottom out during Labor Day Week. The continuous data chart from 2000 through this week visually explains why the government likes seasonally adjusted data. Look at those peak values during the second week of January. We have fewer NSA FTU claims during the week ending April 29, 2017 than we had during the week ending April 1, 2000. We will almost certainly drop below the 18 year low of 193,291 that we recorded this past September before September of this year.

The Non-Seasonally Adjusted Continuing Claims Level Dropped below 2 Million claims - and Crickets, Again.  The data is trending below the 2016 level and the 2000 level for continuing claims. Ignorance is bliss - unless you are missing out on something great - like the Super Bowl comeback this past Super Bowl. The continuing claims level is so low because the first-time claims level have been consistently low for such a long time. The continuing claims levels are low because people who work multiple jobs are not eligible for unemployment benefits when they lose one of their jobs - even if it is a full-time job and the second job is a part-time job.We have elevated levels of people working part-time jobs are ineligible for unemployment claims benefits.

The Last time the April Continuing Claims Level was under 2 Million a Clinton was President.The April 29, 2000 NSA CC level was 1.957 million. The April 22, 2017 level, this week's data and the most recent value because the CC value lags one week behind the FTU value, was recorded at 1.936 million. Crickets. Cicada. Someone else should be shouting from the rooftops about how good this data is today.

These data points are huge. Earlier this week this column addressed last week's data and pointed out that the data that we received regarding the unemployment claims levels for April 15 will indicate the direction of the CPS (Current Population Survey) data that we will receive NEXT month. The CPS survey is different from the NSA CC "survey" so there is no apples to apples comparison available. What the NSA FTU and NSA CC levels do it place us on the proper path. Can we hit 1.8 million CC by mid-May? Possibly. Will anyone report Good News or does it have to "Bleed to Lead?" Here is the data from the report.

It's the economy.