SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending December 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 372,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 362,000. The 4-week moving average was 360,000, an increase of 250 from the previous week’s revised average of 359,750.
… UNADJUSTED DATA
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 495,588 in the week ending December 29, an increase of 40,459 from the previous week. There were 540,057 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.
Last week’s original seasonally adjusted result was 350K. This week’s revised number is 12K higher, and occurred because the number of raw claims for that week increased by about 14,200.
We were warned by DOL that it was probably underestimating claims because of late reporting, but the press went ahead with reports that the number was great news. Will anyone say “never mind” in their reports today? Doubtful.
This year’s seasonal factor (for the week ended December 29) was 133.4. Last year’s, for the week ended December 31, 2011, was 141.1. The weeks really aren’t comparable, so a “what if” on using last year’s factor isn’t relevant. Next week’s year-over-year factors will also not be comparable.
Overall, absent info to the contrary, this is evidence that the job market is treading water at best.
UPDATE: Via AP —
Many state unemployment offices were closed this week for the New Year’s holiday and did not submit complete data for last week. As a result, the department relied on estimates for nine states. Two weeks ago, the department estimated 19 states because of Christmas closings
A significant upward revision next week seems quite likely.