Reclaiming Common Sense

The Weekly Unemployment Claims Report was released without fireworks on July 5th. The recorded data, the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) First-time Unemployment (FTU) claims data and the NSA Continuing Claims (CC) data remain at or near 46 year lows for the current week of the year. The data for the FTU claims is for the fifth and final week of June while the CC data is for the fourth week of June. The seasonal factors used to convert the NSA data to the SA data change by data type, week, month, season, and year. What was recorded (NSA) and what was reported (Seasonally Adjusted - SA) for the final week of June for FTU claims and for the fourth week of June for CC?

The Non-seasonally adjusted First-time Claims data edged slightly higher that last week - very slightly. The first-time claims data tends to tick higher the final week of June, the final week of the second quarter. This week the data from last week was revised higher to 222,766 and the current data was recorded at 231,072. Remember that the SA number was 228,000 last week and is only 231,000 this week. Remember that under 300,000 was touted as being good under Former President Obama. This data, the NSA FTU data, has been under 200,000 claims multiple times this year. What will be said when the SA FTU drops below 200,000?

The Seasonally Adjusted FTU number was recorded at 231,000 claims the lowest for the final week of June since 1969. The seasonal factors used during prior similar data periods would have pushed the seriously low unemployment claims data higher than was reported. We could have had a value as high as 283,000 reported this week. We live in reality. This SA FTU value was still lower than the final week of June since 1969.

The Continuing Claim data is nearly 225,000 claims lower than the same week last year. The SA CC value was recorded at 1.643 million claims. It edged higher because we saw the data rise for first-time claims last week. This is normal. WE will probably see the U-3 unemployment data rise tomorrow, both for the NSA and SA U-3 values, and will catch some people off-guard.  There are almost 1.5 million continuing claims this year than we recorded during the same week of 2012.

The Continuing Claims Data could have been reported a little lower than it was reported. The seasonal factors skewed the data a little higher this year, in part because it was the fourth week of the month versus the final week of the month. 

The talk of negative unemployment, more job opening than unemployed workers, is a bit misguided. The data are from two different data sets, measuring different things (Job Openings versus unemployed workers,) with different sample sizes, and have different margins of error. How low can the NSA FTU and NSA CC values fall? Time will tell.

It's the economy.