Reclaiming Common Sense

First-time Claims Reported under 300,000 - Week 254

Continuing Claims data Reported under 2.00 Million - Week 144

Last week was the 253rd consecutive week with Seasonally Adjusted (SA) First-time (FTU) Claims being reported under 300,000 claims.The 204,000 claims number caught some people off-guard.

Non-Seasonally Adjusted Claims dropped significantly, as expected.  First-time claims spike during the first or second week of January and then decline, overall, during the course of the year with minor spikes. Last week the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) FTU was 338,500. This week we dropped to 267,582 claims. This is slightly higher than last year's third week of January data.It is lower than The third week of January 2018 data. The First-time Unemployment Rate this week was 0.18%. This equals the all-time low for the third week of January that was established during January of 2018.

Seasonally adjusted first-time claims  rose from 205.000 to 211,000. The non-seasonally adjusted data fell by 20.96% It was thought that they could fall by 25% or more. This is what the seasonal factor was "anticipating" and the reason why with falling NSA FTU the SA FTU rose. The SA FTU could have been reported under 200,000 according to the other third week of January seasonal factors. It could have been reported as low as 193,000 using a January 18 seasonal factor from 1969.

Continuing Claims dropped from 2.249 million claims to 2.122 million claims. Non-seasonally adjusted claims follow a similar pattern where they normally peak for the year the first or second week of January. Last year we dropped as low as 1.369 million claims during October, similar to October 2018 (1.350M) and virtually a 46 year low.The NSA Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) was 1.46% this week. This ties last year's record low NSA IUR for the second week of January. Remember that the CC data trails the FTU data by one week.

Seasonally Adjusted Continuing Claims dropped from 1.768 million to 1.731 million claims.  This is the 144th consecutive week with the SA CC under 2.0 million claims. The SA IUR was 1.19%, also tying the SA IUR record for the second week of January set last January.

What does this all mean? People are being hired and fired. They are being hired and fired at some of the best levels recorded during the past 40 years. High levels of hiring, low levels of unemployment. We also have elevated levels of dual job workers. A second job is still the best form of unemployment insurance, even if it is a part-time job. The first-time claims data and the continuing claims data may start trending higher year over year as the number of covered insured marches to all-time highs.  There are 145,230,691 "covered insured" right now.  This compares with covered insured last January of 143,051,794 and the 141,032,239 January of 2018.This column will be reporting all of the data.

It's the Economy.