Reclaiming Common Sense

 First-time Claims Record Jump of 113k, Report Drop of 10k

The weekly unemployment claims were released this morning. The authors of the report live in a seasonally adjusted world. The non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) first time (FTU) and Continuing Claims (CC) numbers are recorded and seasonally adjusted (SA) to the Reported SA FTU and SA CC values.  The seasonal factors used to convert the NSA categories to the SA numbers change by category,week, month, season and year. If you were one of the 352,931 workers who received first time claims benefits, don't worry, only 258,000 of you "really" claimed benefits.

What happened this week?

Non-Seasonally Adjusted Claims Jumped 113,000 claims this week. This was a smaller jump than the authors of the report had anticipated. Yesterday this column published an article explaining that a Scrooge Spike would occur and that claims levels are probably not as high as they could be because more people are working multiple jobs and are ineligible for benefits when they lose one of their jobs. Also we have a record level of people working two part-time jobs. They could lose both jobs and not receive first-time benefits. You will not hear this data reported elsewhere because they report the SA FTU number. The NSA FTU number spiked by 113,000 claims and the SA FTU number dropped by 10,000 claims. Up is down.

We could have reported First-time Claims of 276,000 claims if we used last year's seasonal factor. The seasonal factors are used to smooth out the bumps and valleys in the numbers. The authors of the report have based the SA FTU streak on loose FACTs (False Assertions Considered to be True.) This column has detailed numerous times thatthe streak did not start when they said it did and that ended numerous time since that time. The most recent ending was November 19, 2016. The "Streak" is not 92 weeks - It is just Two Weeks.

Continuing Claims Jumped from 1.746 Million to 2.069 Million Claims.  This jump in claims was anticipated. Continuing Claims will increase through the end of the year and into January.  Once again the jump was less than what the authors of the report had anticipated. Once again this jump was recorded and then reported as a decline in continuing claims.We are at 16 year lows for this time of the year. We are also near generation lows for participation during this time of year. You cannot separate the two.

How long will it take for the rest of the reporters and financial analysts to explain to the emperor that he is wearing no clothes?  When will it hit hm that there is a new President Elect and that he is not a she? Today's Scrooge Spike is the beginning of the swoon before the inauguration. We sometimes lose jobs (workers) during December. We "always" lose Current Employment Statistics (CES) workers during January. The SA CES private sector number is often reported as increasing during January. We have been adding workers at a slower pace than 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The Economy has fundamentally changed during the past eight years. The job market and unemployment market has likewise changed.

It's the economy.