April 18, 2013

Initial Unemployment Claims (041813); 352K SA; NSA Only 4% Below Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:26 am

Predictions:
- Bloomberg — a seasonally adjusted 350,000.
- Reuters — 350,000.

Seasonal adjustment factors:
- Week ended April 13, 2013 — 100.9
- Week ended April 14, 2012 — 95.7

That’s a big difference, and makes looking at the raw claims very important. If last year’s factor was used on today’s raw number would cause today’s reported seasonally adjusted claims to be about 18,000 higher.

Raw claims:
- Week ended April 6, 2013 (last week, before today’s revision) — 353,973
- Week ended April 14, 2012 — 370,482

The consensus prediction assumes raw claims of 353,000 (350,000 times 1.009, rounded).

The report will be come out at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending April 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 352,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 348,000. The 4-week moving average was 361,250, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 358,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 354,973 in the week ending April 13, a decrease of 1,269 from the previous week. There were 370,482 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

If last year’s seasonal adjustment factor had been used on today’s raw claims, the seasonally adjusted result would have been 371,000 (354,973 divided by .957, rounded). I don’t see a good reason why there’s such a big difference between the two years’ seasonal adjustment factors. Easter was on March 31 this year, and April 8 last year, i.e., both this week and the comparable week last year were full work weeks. One could make a case based on any “Good Friday stragglers” who might have inflated last year’s raw number that this year’s SA factor should have been lower than this year’s, not higher.

Today’s report was not good news for those hoping that a legitimate economic recovery is in progress.

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