The past two weeks we recorded and reported  First-time Unemployment Claims under 200,000.  This week there was a surprise jump in First-time Claims.


The weekly unemployment claims data used to be bottom of the hour headline news. The same data used to be front page "news by the numbers" news. That was before we had four years of seasonally adjusted (SA) first-time unemployment (FTU) claims under 300,000 claims and seasonally adjusted continuing claims (CC) under 2 million claims for the past two straight years.  What was recorded, non-seasonally adjusted, and what was reported, seasonally adjusted, this week?


The headline Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims data came in at  230,000. It was projected that we would most likely be under 200,000 SA FTU claims this week. It was thought that we could come in as low as 190,000 to 192,000 claims. There was the possibility of a minor drop in NSA FTU claims yielding an uptick in SA TU claims.  The four year long streak of SA FTU at or under 300,000 claims continues.


It was expected that the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) FTU claims would drop up to 10% this week, and that they would most likely fall by 6% to 10% this week.  The NSA FTU claims spiked by 7.62%. This is not unprecedented during this week of the year. The NSA FTU claims jumped 6.56% during the week ending April 20, 2001.


So far we have had five weeks with NSA FTU claims under 200,000. The record of 21 weeks under 200,000 NSA FTU claims was set during 2018. It is interesting to notice that there were no weeks with NSA FTU under 200,000 claims during February, March, or April of 1967. There were only two weeks with NSA FTU under 200,000 by this week of the year 1973. We had three weeks under 200,000 by this time last year. This week we took a slight pause.


The NSA CC value was recorded at 1,704,208. The Non-Seasonally Adjusted Continuing claims were anticipated to drop 2% to 4%. The likely drop was projected to be 1.64% to 3.11%.. The claims level dropped 1.50%.


The Seasonally Adjusted Continuing Claims came in under  2 million claims again. The two year streak of having the SA CC value under 2 million claims continued this week.  We have 161,000 fewer continuing claims than we had this time last year. The 1.250 NSA CC level is still within reach for the first week of October this year.


The NSA Insured Unemployment Rate edged lower to 1.19%. Former President Clinton's lowest NSA IUR was 1.45% during the beginning of October 2000.  Former President Obama's lowest NSA IUR was 1.23% during the beginning  of October 2016. Last October President Trump dropped his IUR to 0.95%. The IUR was 1.32% during the second week of April 2018. This was a record for the second week of April going back to 1971, the first year that it was reported. We are 0.13% lower with 2.2 million more covered insured this year compared to last year.


Be careful comparing Apples, Oranges, Pomegranates, and other fruits. This week's continuing claims data is the data closest to the collection date for the CPS (Current Population Survey) U-3 unemployment data that will be published in the April Jobs Report. The CPS data measures those out of work looking for work. The continuing claims data counts those who were working, who are out of work, who are looking for work. Big Difference. These data points should not be confused with the JOLTS job openings data, the JOLTS Separations data, or the JOLTS hiring data. The Job Opening And Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data is similar to, and different from, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) worker data. The continuing claims data being 100,000 claims lower than last month should mean that the U-3 unemployment level should fall.


Last April we saw full-time jobs surge by 916,000 non-seasonally adjusted jobs. We also saw non-seasonally adjusted U-3 unemployment drop by 739,000 workers.  Next week we will receive the April Jobs Data. Expect remarkable data non-seasonally adjusted. More on the jobs report forecast next week. How low will the first-time claims data fall this year? How low will the continuing claims data fall? Could the Insured Unemployment rate fall below 0.85%? We will find out during October this year,



 Reclaiming Common Sense