Reclaiming Common Sense

Thursday is the traditional day for the weekly unemployment claims report to be released. The main number is the first-time unemployment claims number, the FTU. The recorded value is the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) FTU number while what is reported is the seasonally adjusted FTU. It used to be considered a good number if the SA FTU was reported under 300,000 claims. A second important number is the continuing Claims (CC) number. This also has a SA and a NSA component. A number under 2 million is considered good. We had some great numbers if these values are good.

First Time Claims Recorded Just over 250,000. Last week's NSA FTU value was revised upward from 239,218 to 239,730. The report detailed some losses in the food service sector for New York State and New Jersey. There were also layoffs in the service sector in California.

Continuing Claims were Reported under 1.9 million. This is another solid value. The data that was released last week for the week of June 17th was revised down from 1,815,908 claims to 1,813,029 claims. The Continuing Claims level is lower than June of 2000 and lower than June of 1971. We only had 53,155,200 covered insured during June 1971. We only had 124,674,680 covered insured during June 2000. This year we have 139,505,637 covered insured. Fewer claims from more people - tens of million more people.

The reason why "nobody else" covers the data is because it doesn't make much sense by itself. The people who claim unemployment benefits are those who lost full-time jobs that had unemployment benefits. We have had an elevated level of people working two jobs since the Great Recession. When they lose one job they still have one or more jobs. They are lesser employed, not unemployed. There are people who lost work and lost benefits during the recession. This number has "noting" to do with the Current Population Survey (CPS)  unemployment rate or unemployment number, the U-3 number. Those people could be unemployed and not receive benefits.

Will we see a spike in first-time unemployment claims next week? This data would reflect what is happening at the send of the second quarter for the year. There should be some uptick. The CC data trails the FTU data by one week. That number could uptick when that number is released in two weeks.

It's the economy.