Reclaiming Common Sense

First-time Claims Reported under 300,000 for 260th Consecutive Week
Continuing Claims Reported under 2.0 Million for 150th Consecutive Week.

The weekly unemployment claims report used to be headline news at the bottom of the eight o'clock hour during the Obama Administration. Would the seasonally adjusted (SA) first-time claims (FTU) level drop below 500,000 or 400,000 or 300,000? The current under 300,000 SA FTU streak began on March 17, 2015. Technically this isn't the anniversary of the streak because it is only the 5th of March. We have had two elections and two leap years in the meantime. They stopped mentioning the "streak" after the 2016 Presidential Election. They rarely acknowledge the continuing claims data. They have "never" commented on the Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR.) What was recorded this week? Nothing was reported because we have the continuing Coronavirus situation in China. Here is the report. What does it mean?

Non-Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims were recorded at 217,608.  This is a slight uptick from last week. It is alsocomparableto where we were during the past two years. The February 29th data point limits the comparable data for the low cycles of non-seasonally adjusted FTU.

The Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims Streak has now been "reported" under 300,000 for the 260th consecutive week. This stopped being reported around week 98, after the 2016 election. The SA FTU was 217,000 this week. There are some in the Legacy Media who are "concerned" that the SA FTU is higher this year than it was last year. They are misguided.  We have 2 million more covered insured than last year, four million more covered insured than during 2018, and seven million more covered insured than during the same week of February 2017.  Will this streak be reported when we hit the 5 year anniversary (March 17?) Nah, they will probably still be hungover from St. Patrick's Day.

The Non-Seasonally Adjusted Continuing Claims (CC) value was recorded at 2.101 million, up slightly from last week. The number of covered insured increased by 2.2 million from the fourth week of February 2019. The number of NSA CC dropped by 12,000 claims from last year's fourth week of February level.  The NSA IUR was 1.45%, a record low for the third week of February. The SA IUR s a record low of 1.19% for the fourth week of February.  The same week data can be found here.

The seasonally adjusted continuing claims level is under the 2.0 million mark for the 150th consecutive week.   Will this data be reported when we hit the three year anniversary of this streak (April 1?) Nah. Why do that? They will still probably be discussing the Coronavirus.

This data is so good that it "has" to be ignored. There were pundits talking about the three things that had to happen in order for President Obama to win re-election during 2012. First, the Seasonally Adjusted Weekly Claims level had to drop below 400,000 claims. We had 363,000 SA FTU (Oct. 27) and 361,000 claims (Nov. 3,) only to pop to 446,000 SA FTU claims on Nov. 10, 2016, Second, the SA Unemployment rate had to drop under 8.00%. Amazingly, the SA U-3 Unemployment rate dropped from  8.1% during August of 2012 to 7.8% during September of 2012. What wasn't being discussed back then was that the participation rate was dropping, too. The participation rate dropped from 64.0% during December 2011 to 63.6% during September 2016. The third thing that "had to happen" for former President Obama to be re-elected was to have gasoline drop below $3.00 a gallon.  It did.

Right now all three ingredients are in place for President Trump to be re-elected. Seasonally adjusted First-time Unemployment Claims are under 300,000. Heck, they are almost under 200,000 claims. The unemployment rate is not only under 8%, it is under 7%, under 6%, under 5% and under 4%. Gasoline in Ohio is right around the $2.25 level. There is even a station nearby at $2.009 a gallon.

What about Wuhan? There are 157 total cases for 327.2 million residents. Compare this to 6,088 cases for South Korea with 51.47 million people, Italy with 3,089 cases, Iran with 81.16 million people and 2,922 cases,  and Japan with 331 cases for 126.8 million people. Those four countries have 12,430 cases for 319.9 million people.  This data was current as of 7:00 AM on Thursday 3/5/2020. Twelve Thousand versus one hundred and fifty seven.

Are the Unemployment claims data, plural, too good to be true? Are they too good to be reported?   Ignore the weekly claims data at your own risk. The trends are still our friend. Last year we set a record for weeks with the NSA FTU claims being recorded under 200,000 claims with 23 weeks. Last year we tied a record low of 0.95%. Last year we had a low of 1.369 million continuing claims, comparable to the 1.350 million during October of 2018, with 2 million more covered insured.The earliest that we have had an NSA FTU recorded under 200,000 was February 24, 2018. Last year, during the month of April, we had two weeks with SA FTU under 200,000 claims,  What can we expect? Expect the Legacy Media to actively ignore the good news and focus on the Wuhan Virus as long as they can. They need their Black Swan.

It's the Economy.