Reclaiming Common Sense

Non-Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims up Slightly - Still under 200,000

Continuing Claims up Slightly, Still under 1.7 million

The headline number for First-time Claims is the seasonally adjusted First-time Unemployment Claims Data (SA FTU.) There is a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) component that is rarely mentioned. There is also a SA Continuing Claims (CC) number and a NSA CC number. There is the Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) that has both a SA and NSA version. All of the data is expected to trend lower from here through the end of September. What was recorded and what was reported this week?

The Non-seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims edged higher from 179,877 to 186,028. It was projected that the NSA FTU could fall 2% to 5%. There were no states that reported an increase of 1,000 claims from week to week.

This is the thirteenth week that the NSA FTU was under 200,000. We have a four week streak of claims under 200,000.  Last year we had 10 weeks of NSA FTU under 200,000 by August 11. Last year we had 21 total weeks under 200,000 claims. Right now we are tied with the 1973 record of 13 weeks. We had one week under 200,000 claims during 2015, two during 2016, and four during all of 2017. This is a big deal. We have two million more covered insured this year than last year. We have 4 million more covered insured compared to 2017, six million more compared to 2016, nine million more than 2015, and 90 million (90,000,000)  more covered insured than we had during 1973.

The Seasonally Adjusted FTU was reported at 220,000. We have had 300,000 or fewer SA FTU since March 7,2015. The  SA FTU could have been reported under 200,000 if we used the seasonal factors from 1967 through 1972.

The Non-Seasonally Adjusted  Continuing Claims number rose from 1.665 million to 1.677 million continuing claims.. It was projected that the NSA CC could fall by 1.25% to 1.75%. Are people being selective about which jobs they accept due to the elevated level of job openings? This is lower than the NSA CC was during the first week of August of 1970, 1971, and 1972.

The Seasonally Adjusted CC value came in at 1.726 million.The SA CC value could have been reported at 1.714 million claims. This is lower than what was reported for the same week of 1970, 1971, and 1972, too.

The Insured unemployment rate was recorded and reported at 1.2%. The NSA IUR was 1.16% and the SA IUR was 1.20%. this is lower than last year's 1.18% and 1.22%, respectively.

Very few analysts spend any time on the weekly claims data. It is important to note that even though the annual trend is for claims, first-time and continuing claims, to drop through the end of September, the sheer number of covered insured is placing pressure on the claims number to increase. Unemployment claims will rise eventually. It is called "The Fall and Winter firing season." It is important to compare the covered insured sizes and the unemployment data.

It's the Economy.