Also, productivity news is not good.
Predictions are as follows:
- Bloomberg projects a seasonally adjusted 360,000, down from last week’s 368K before likely prior-week revisions.
- Reuters also has 360K, along with a prediction that a productivity report coming out today will show a decline.
- The Associated Press, which typically forgets that it carried predictions once economic reports are released, also has 360K.
This year’s adjustment factor of 105.6 is lower than last year’s 108.2, so actual claims are going to have to come in below last year’s for year-over-year seasonally adjusted claims to fall.
UPDATE, 8:40 a.m.: My email says claims fell to 366K from 371K, but I don’t see DOL’s release yet.
UPDATE 2, 8:45 a.m.: Here it is –
EASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending February 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 366,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 371,000. The 4-week moving average was 350,500, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 352,750.
… UNADJUSTED DATA
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 386,176 in the week ending February 2, an increase of 16,696 from the previous week. There were 401,365 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.
The year-over-year claims difference of less than 4% is not impressive — and the habit of weekly upward revisions to previous week’s numbers appears to have resumed after taking a hiatus of a couple of weeks.
UPDATE 3: Here’s the first paragraph of the productivity report (full HTML with tables) —
Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased at a 2.0 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The decrease in productivity reflects increases of 0.1 percent in output and 2.2 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, productivity increased 0.6 percent as output and hours worked rose 2.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Annual average productivity increased 1.0 percent from 2011 to 2012.
This is not the kind of productivity situation we saw from 2009 through 2011. It looks like businesses have squeezed all they can out of their existing employees. It may also be that newbie part-timers aren’t as productive as full-timers.