December 27, 2012

Initial Unemployment Claims (a DOL Wild Guess): 350K SA; NSA Claims Down 11% from Year Ago

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:02 am

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending December 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 350,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 362,000. The 4-week moving average was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 368,000.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 440,887 in the week ending December 22, an increase of 39,458 from the previous week. There were 497,689 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

Last week’s original 361,000 was only slightly revised up to the 362,000 noted above.

This week’s seasonal conversion factor was 125.9, while the comparable figure from last year was 129.5. If last year’s figure had been applied to this year’s raw claims, the seasonally adjusted figure would have been 10,000 claims lower (440,887 divided by 129.5 rounds to 340,000). Both years had a full work week prior to Christmas.

Overall, this would appear to be somewhat of an improvement, but an Associated Press report indicates that it’s essentially a wild guess:

A department spokesman said many state unemployment offices were closed Monday and Tuesday and unable to compile complete data. Fourteen states provided estimates and the department estimated the numbers for five additional states.

The government might estimate one or two states in a typical week, but 19 state estimates are unusually high. The estimates are usually fairly accurate, the spokesman said. Even so, the government will likely revise the figures by more than normal next week.

Betcha the direction is upward by “more than normal.”



  1. Since when does the DOL put out unemployment claims reports that are based largely on estimates? Is this SOP? I personally don’t remember this happening before.

    Comment by zf — December 27, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  2. This was was to a much further degree than usual. Considering the timing of New Year’s Day, we may see that again next week

    Comment by Tom — December 27, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

  3. Not to pester you with questions, but did they use estimates around New Years in the past?

    Comment by zf — December 27, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  4. #3, don’t know, but last year the two holidays were Sundays, so it wouldn’t have been a problem

    Comment by Tom — December 27, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

  5. Interesting, thanks!

    Comment by zf — December 27, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

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