Reclaiming Common Sense

First-time unemployment claims tend to pop after the end of June and trend lower through the end of September. Continuing Claims bump up before they decline through the first week of October. The non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) first-time unemployment claims are at or near historic lows for the current week of the year depending upon the week in question. It was thought that we had a strong economy when the seasonally adjusted (SA) FTU was reported under 300,000. We have already had multiple weeks this year when the NSA FTU was below 200,000 claims during a given week. The NSA continuing claims (CC) data has also been at or near 45 year lows this year. The overall trend for both the NSA FTU and NSA CC is much lower.  What was recorded and what was reported this week?

First Time Claims Recorded a Spike, Reported a Drop. First time claims, NSA,jumped from 231,539 to 264,487. It was thought that the NSA FTU could jump 5-20% this week. It is a very volatile week of the year. It was recorded as a drop from 232,000 to 214,000 SA FTU claims.  A jump of 14.23% was reported as a drop of 7.7%. The seasonal factors seem "wrong." 

Was this the lowest first week of July NSA FTU since 1968 or higher than Last Year, or Both? The NSA FTU was up from the official value of 252,866 from last year. The report indicated that last year's values were 284,329 NSA and 244,000 SA FTU. The report from last year said that the preliminary values were 250,433 NSA and 248,000 SA FTU. The 284,000 NSA FTU value is for the second week of July. Either way, this week's value was lower than the first week of the year since July 6, 1968. This year the difference of one day means the difference of one week of data.

The seasonally adjusted data could have been reported much higher or much lower than it was reported. The SA FTU could have been reported as low as 212,000 and as high as 267,000. Either way, the "under 300,000 claims streak" continues. Remember that former President Obama's streak was a FACT, False Assertion Considered to be True. It is an economic urban legend.

The Continuing Claims data reported and recorded a drop this week. The NSA CC data trails the NSA FTU data by one week. This week we received the NSA CC data for the fifth and final week of June. Sometimes there are four weeks of data and sometimes there are five weeks. The data for the same week of 1971 and 1972 were higher than they were this week. There were approximately 90 million more covered insured this week than during the same time during 1971 and 1972.

The Continuing claims data could have been reported higher or lower than it was reported. The seasonally adjusted data could have been reported under 1.7 million or as high as 1.97 million SA CC.

It's the Economy.