SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending December 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 361,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 344,000. The 4-week moving average was 367,750, a decrease of 13,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 381,500.
… UNADJUSTED DATA
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 400,422 in the week ending December 15, a decrease of 28,766 from the previous week. There were 421,103 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.
This year’s seasonal adjustment factor was 110.9, compared to 113.7 for the same week a year ago. If last year’s factor had been used on this year’s raw claims number, seasonally adjusted claims would have come in 9,000 lower (400,422 divided by 1.137 is 352,000, rounded).
The previous week was, as usual, revised upward, this time by 1,000 seasonally adjusted claims from last week’s 343,000.
This is a modest improvement, and may be as good as it gets, given that the Christmas shopping numbers are coming in at disappointing levels (Associated Press Headline — “DISCOUNTS ABOUND AS STORES TRY TO SALVAGE SEASON”). However, AP this morning says that today’s number “is consistent with a job market that continues to grow modestly.” The last word should be “inadequately.”
The next three weeks are going to be hard to peg because of the Christmas and New Year holidays; last year’s comparable week in next week’s report will include Christmas Eve.