Reclaiming Common Sense

 If Good News is Recorded and Not Reported Did It Really Happen?

Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims Streak - Week #245


The weekly unemployment claims report used to garner bottom of the hour headline status as the seasonally adjusted claims level dropped from 500,000 to 400,000 to 300,000. The discussion shifted to the number of consecutive weeks under 300,000 SA FTU. Fifty. Sixty. Seventy. Eighty. Presidential election. Crickets.


First-time Claims recorded a drop to 226,444.  Other than the "444" probably being a placeholder to make sure that it is revised next week, and other than the slightly smaller drop than was anticipated, this is the lowest that the NSA FTU has been during the third week of November since November 15, 1969.


The First-time Unemployment Rate was just 0.16% - a Record Low for this week of the year. The FUR is something that this column has started to promote. The lowest that this had ever been was 0.17% during September 1999. The FUR during this week 2016 was just 0.16%. The FUR allows us to compare data from roughly the same time of the year while "adjusting" for covered insured growth. The FUR during 2017 was 0.21%  and 2018 was 0.20%. We are still in a good place.


The headline seasonally adjusted first-time claims data was reported at 227,000 claims. This is well under 300,000 claims. This is week 245. The under 300k streak started March 7, 2015.


Continuing Claims rose slightly from 1.450 million to 1.459 million claims. This is 12,000 claims higher than the same week last year. We also have 2.1 million more covered insured this year compared to the  same week last year. Another way to look


The Seasonally Adjusted Continuing Claims data was reported under 2 million for the 135th consecutive week.  Crickets in the media because there are crickets in the report. This streak started April 1, 2017.


The Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) was recorded at 1.01%.  This is just slightly lower than the 1.02% during the same week of the year last year.


The best form of unemployment insurance is a second job. We are at the second highest level of multiple job holders (MJH) during the month of October. We normally hit "peak MJH" during November or December. Even if the MJH workers lose a Full-time Job, most likely a seasonal FT job, they still should have one job. We may see our smallest spike this January. It is an election year. Campaign staffs will be expanding. Advertising staffs will be expanding. Ignore the weekly claims data at your own peril.


This column has been writing articles all year asking how low can the first-time claims data fall, how low can the continuing claims data fall, and how low can the IUR fall. There will "always" be a certain amount of people who are unemployed and collecting unemployment benefits. We were within 100,000 claims of a 46 year old record of 1.252  million (10/6/73) when we were at 1.350 million (10/4/18) and 1.369 million (10/5/19.) Could the NSA FTU claims level fall below 350,000 during the first week of January for the first time since the program started during January 1967. Last year we had 350,949 claims. January 1967 we had 346,000 claims. How low can we go? Will the sheer size of the covered insured workforce push the level slightly above 351,000 claims?


It's the Economy.