Initial Unemployment Claims (012513): 330K SA, But Raw Claims (437K) Top Previous Year (417K) For Second Week in a Row
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending January 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 330,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 335,000. The 4-week moving average was 351,750, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 360,000.
… UNADJUSTED DATA
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 436,766 in the week ending January 19, a decrease of 119,944 from the previous week. There were 416,880 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.
For the second week in a row (last week seen here), raw claims (not seasonally adjusted — NSA; green boxes) were higher than the same week a year ago, this time by almost 5%. But year-to-year differences between the seasonal adjustment factors caused seasonally adjusted claims (SA; red boxes) to come in 11% lower:
Raw claims have not topped the analogous week from the previous year for two weeks in a row since October 2009.
If last year’s seasonal adjustment factor of 112.0 had been used on this year’s raw number instead of the 132.3 that DOL actually used, seasonally adjusted claims would have come in at 393,000 (436,766 divided by 1.12, rounded).
The Martin Luther King holiday was on January 16 last year, while the most recent week didn’t contain the King holiday. That explains some of the difference between the two years’ seasonal factors, but by no means all.
Given that next week’s report will show a flipped situation with the holiday (MLK Day in this year’s numbers but not in last year), there had better be a big year-over-year dropoff in raw claims. If not, it’s going to pretty convincing evidence that the job market has returned to sputtering mode.