Reclaiming Common Sense

The weekly unemployment claims used to be a headline feature on Thursday mornings. Were we under 500,000 seasonally adjusted (SA) First-time Unemployment (FTU) claims? Were we under 400,000 SA FTU claims? Were we under 300,000 SA FTU claims? The seasonal factors used to convert the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) claims to the SA claims. The factors change for week to week, month to month, season to season, and year to year. They also differ between the FTU claims number and the Continuing Claims (CC) number.  Could we see a 200,000 SA FTU claims number reported by the end of the month? Could we see a number under 2,000,000 for the SA CC level by the end of the month?

The Non-seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims Number is Approaching 200,000. The NSA FTU number dropped to 207,565 this week. This is the lowest it has been for this week of the year  since 2000. Last week's NSA FTU number was revised up from 228,284 to 228,5444 while the data from two weeks ago was revised down from 224,959 to 224,939. We have seen very low first-time claims for an extended period of time, in part, due to increased hiring, in part, due to elevated levels of part-time jobs and seasonal jobs, and in part due to elevated levels of people working two jobs.

Is a SA FTU Number under  200,00 within Reach?  The SA FTU number could have been reported as low as 202,000 this week. If we used the seasonal factors from 2012 or 2013 the number could have been reported between 202,000 and 209,000. Note that the seasonal factors used in this table are the seasonal factors that were used until March of 2016. There was no change in the NSA FTU data when the authors of the report revised all of the seasonal factors within the past month. Is a 199,000 number within reach? Will it be reported?

Is a Continuing Claims Number under 2 Million within reach? We have 2.217 Million NSA CC reported during the most recent week. The data for the prior week's reporting period was revised down to 2,285,629. We need first-time claims to have continuing claims. Is this a good thing?

Tomorrow we will receive the Monthly Employment Situation Report - or Jobs Report. Is is anticipated that there will be strong job growth and a drop in the unemployment level and the unemployment rate. It is anticipated that we will also see an increase in participation. While the data collected for the weekly unemployment claims report is a different data set than the Current Population Survey (CPS) data set, there should be some relationship between the two data sets. The current level of continuing claims should continue to drop over the next two weekly claims reports. The CPS data is collected on the 12th of the month. The unemployment collection date is April 15th. This bodes well for the April Jobs Report that will be released during the month of May.

It's the economy.