January 10, 2013

Initial Unemployment Claims (011013): 371K SA, 552K NSA

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:47 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending January 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 371,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 367,000. The 4-week moving average was 365,750, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 359,000.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 552,043 in the week ending January 5, an increase of 61,944 from the previous week. There were 646,219 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

Imagine this: In the first such instance I have seen in almost two years of tracking this, last week’s 372K original estimate was revised DOWN by 5,000. DOL estimated nine states which hadn’t submitted their data last week because of the timing of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and I (along with almost everyone else) thought that this situation prespaged a possibly significant upward adjustment. Well, no.

The seasonal conversion factors for the 2013 and 2012 aren’t comparable in any way, since New Year’s Day in 2012 was a Sunday. This year’s raw claims are about 14.5% below last year, but it’s hard to read too much into that either.

Next week’s report will cover the first full business week of 2013, and will be directly comparable to the first full business week of 2012. Comparing those two weeks will be meaningful. Until then, the ruling meme should be that claims seem stuck in a range of 360-375K.

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UPDATE, 2 p.m.: Oh so quietly, the week ended December 22 was revised up from 362,000 to 363,000, meaning that in the past 94 weeks reviewed, there has been one week where the initially reported number stayed the same after revisions and one week (today’s) where it declined. The rest have had subsequent revisions in the upward direction.

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