Reclaiming Common Sense

Yesterday's Weekly Unemployment Claims Report was Remarkable

Every week the Labor Department record the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) unemployment claims numbers and reports the seasonally adjusted (SA) claims numbers. The headline number is the SA First-time Unemployment (FTU) claims number. A second number is the SA Continuing Claims(CC) Number.When the authors of the report compare seasonally adjusted data from different seasons and different year (or decades) False Assertions Considered to be True (FACTs) are created.  They have recently stopped reporting the FACT that we have the longest streak of consecutive weeks with SA FTU claims under 300,000. The skewed the data to keep that streak alive. They were caught - or they don't want President Trump to get any more praise than he already is receiving.

What did this week's report indicate?

We are at a 17 year low for NSA First-time Claims. It was reported that we had 241,000SA FTU claims when in reality we had only 222,510. We have been trending with the 2000 data for the past year and two months.The problem is that we are still at near historic lows for the workforce participation rate. If people are not participating then they are neither employed or unemployed. What will it take to get people to sit up and take notice of the first-time claims levels? Do we need 200,000 seasonally adjusted first-time claims? Do we need 300,000 NSA FTU claims? 400,000?

The Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims number could have been reported lower. True, it could have been reported higher, too. It could have been reported between 227,000 and 251,000. Does it matter? Jobs matter.

Continuing claims edged down under 2.4 million. We need first-time claims in order to see continuing claims increase. The number of claims is nowhere near the  7.887 million people who are unemployed, per the Current Population Survey data. We are at a seventeen year low for the NSA CC value. Again, this should be good news. It is very possible that as the economy improves that these numbers will matter.

This column will produce another Jobs Report column today regarding the number of people working multiple jobs. Multiple Job Workers mask the true unemployment rate. When they lose one job, even if it is a full-time job, they still have another job or two, so they are not unemployed, just lesser employed. There is no lesser employment insurance, other than the back-up jobs.

It's the economy.