Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

FACTually Challenged Unemployment Claims Claim

The weekly unemployment claims report was released with little fanfare. The data that is recorded is the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data, also known as reality. The data that is reported is the seasonally adjusted  (SA) data, Fantasyland.  The seasonal factors used to convert reality to Fantasyland change by category, First-time (FTU) claim or Continuing Claims (CC,) as well as by week, month, season, and year. The much touted 94 month streak of under 300,000 SA FTU claims is delusional - It did not start when they said it did, it stopped during April 2015, it stopped during June 2015, it stopped during September 2015, It stopped during January 2016, it stopped during November 2016.  When improper seasonal factors are used to create a seasonally adjusted FTU number over 300,000 FACTs (False Assertion Considered to be True) are created. The streak is the mother of all FACTs - as is the Private Sector job creation streak - that is another topic.

Third Straight Week with NSA FTU Claims over 300,000. This really is not the true story. This column has published numerous articles regarding the Effective Unemployment Rate and numerous articles regarding the multiple Jobholder situation. The low workforce participation rate is masking the not-unemployed, not-participating workforce.The elevated levels of people working part-time jobs, two part-time jobs, two full-time jobs, or a part-time job and a full-time job, delay the ability to claim unemployment benefits. If you lose one job you still have another job. Even if you lose your full-time job you do not qualify for unemployment benefits because you are employed.

The First-time Claims reported last week increased to 305,333. Originally the number was recorded at 305,100 and reported at the same seasonally adjusted value of 254,000 claimants.I guess those 61,000 claimants don't count in Fantasyland.

A Lower Seasonal Factor means a Lower Seasonally Adjusted First-time Unemployment Claims Number. The data could have been reported between 257,000 to 281,000. If we would have used last year's seasonal factor the SA FTU number would have been reported at 276,000 instead of today's 275,000. The FACT is that SA FTU claims are under 300,000. The truth is that we have been over 300,000 FTU claims for the most recent three week period of time.

Continuing Claims are Over 2 Million, again. This is the official number of people who are receiving continuing claims. The rest of the over 7 million U-3 Unemployed workers do not receive benefits. Those who are neither unemployed nor participating receive no benefits. Last week's recorded value increased from 1,993,398 to 1,997,189 for the week of December 3rd. The CC value lags behind the FTU number by one week.

The NSA FTU and CC values are at 16 year lows - Not Really. The participation rate is at or near a 35 year low. President Reagan never had a participation rate below 63%. Unemployed workers are still participating in the economy. Remember the "99ers?" those who were unemployed for 99 weeks. Unemployment dropped when the extended benefits were curtailed and people fell off the unemployment rolls. The Unemployment rate is not under 5% - It is between 9.5% and 12.2%.

It's the economy.