Reclaiming Common Sense

Hello! Continuing Claims Continue to Drop. What Hurricane Effects?

The weekly unemployment claims data has received a little more attention that they have during the past year. The unemployment levels, first-time and continuing, have been declining, even with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria forcing the temporary or permanent closing of some businesses, The non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) U-3 unemployment claims fell so much during the month of September that the seasonally adjusted (SA) U-3 number fell. Normally we see first-time claims "bottom" during the second week of September. Normally we see continuing claims "bottom" during the first week of October, This week we are receiving the data for the first week of October for First-time Unemployment (FTU) claims and the data for the fifth and final week of September for Continuing Unemployment (CC) Claims.

  • It is important to understand that when data from different weeks, months, and seasons each SA data point has different seasonal factors that have been applied to convert the NSA data to the SA Data. When data from different seasons are compared FACTs (False Assertions considered to be True, are created.
  • It is important to understand that we have not seen these levels of NSA FTU or CC claims data since 1970 - when we had 84 million fewer potential claimants.
  • It is important to note that while the reports have been noting that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were having impacts on the economy that there has been no mention of claims made through the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program in these same reports, yet we still have regular mentions of "No extended Benefits Claims"
  • Last month we saw the official U-3 unemployment level drop, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.  There was "no impact" from the hurricanes on the unemployment levels.

The Weekly Unemployment Claims ticked higher this week after the prior two weeks data were revised lower. Last week's data was revised down from 206,653 to 204,662. The data from September 23rd was revised down from 215,031 to 212,854. While we did have slightly lower NSA FTU claims during the first weeks of October during  weeks of 2015 and 2016, this week's data was lower than the first week of October for 1970 and 1971.

The Weekly First-time Claims data were reported lower than 2012-2016. This is important to note that these claims values could have been reported even lower than they were reported. The seasonal factors that were previously used during similar low periods would have yielded two instances where the reported value could have been 239,000 or 240,000.

The Continuing Claims data dropped to under 1.6 Million - First time since November 8, 1988. This number is receiving "no attention." These are the people who are unemployed and have been unemployed, looking for work, for  two weeks or more. You have to look to November of that year to find a number that is even lower. The important thing to notice here is that there were only 99.561 million covered insured during the first week of October 1988 or the first week of November 1988. This week we had 139.989 million covered insured. This means that we only added 28,000 claims for 40 million more workers.

The Continuing Claims Data could have been reported - and could have been reported lower than the official value. The 1.570 million claims could have been reported as low as 1.853 million claims. You have to go back to the final week of September 1969 to find a lower NSA CC value for the final week of September.

Here's the thing: If we continue to see the Continuing Claims data continue to fall, then when the data is released in two weeks that value will give us a sense of how low the October NSA U-3 value will potentially be. We had 1.885 million continuing claims on September 12, 2017. Could this value drop to under 1.5 million next week? Could it drop to 1.4 million or 1.3 million by October 14? Could we see the U-3 unemployment level drop by close to a million workers? The prior administration used to tout all sorts of FACTs about the longest streak of SA FTU claims under 300,000 people.

The current administration could take a cue and start educating the press and the people about the difference between Governmentland data and Reality. Yes, Initial Claims were up for the final week of September for both Florida (7627) and Texas (2740.) What isn't acknowledged is that both of them dropped by 3575 for Florida and 5043 for Texas from the week of September 23rd.

It's the economy.