December 5, 2013

Initial Unemployment Claims (120513); 298K SA With a Big Asterisk

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:29 am


Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended November 30, 2013 — 135.0
  • Week ended December 1, 2012 — 105.2

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended November 23, 2013 — 363,053 (before likely upward revision)
  • Week ended December 1, 2012 — 500,163

For the Bloomberg prediction to come true, actual claims (rounded) will have to be 337,000 or lower (337K divided by 1.052 is 320K, rounded).

Because last year’s comparable week didn’t have Thanksgiving in it, I really don’t know how to predict this one. So I won’t.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):


In the week ending November 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 298,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 321,000. The 4-week moving average was 322,250, a decrease of 10,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 333,000.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 313,973 in the week ending November 30, a decrease of 54,507 from the previous week. There were 500,163 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

Last week was revised up by 5,000.

This is a nice, low seasonally adjusted result, but it’s hard to peg its significance, given that it was Thanksgiving week. One could argue that 313,000 raw claims in three business days is quite a few, and that the seasonal adjustment factor used was way too high.

Last year’s Thanksgiving week seasonal adjustment factor (the holiday was on November 22) was 91.9. If that factor had been used today instead of the 105.2 DOL used, seasonally adjusted claims would have come in at 342,000 — a whopping 44,000 claims higher. Also, last year’s raw claims during Thanksgiving week were 358,869 (which seasonally converted to 390K). This year’s claims were a decent 12.5% below that.

I think in the 320s and 330s is where we really are after consistent seasonal adjustments.



  1. I think you have the seasonal adjustments reversed – 298/314 (x100) is roughly 105.

    The last time the weeks ended the same day of the month as this year was 2002. The seasonal adjustments back then around Thanksgiving were:

    W/E 11/23 – 112.0
    W/E 11/30 – 102.2
    W/E 12/7 – 128.8

    Comment by steveegg — December 5, 2013 @ 9:39 am

  2. 314K divided by 1.052 is the 298K reported. 314K divided by .919 is the 344K if they had been “consistent” with last year’s Thanksgiving week.

    Seasonality was presumably a lot different 11 years ago, but who knows?

    Comment by Tom — December 5, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

  3. [...] claims — a very artificial seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended November [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — December 6, 2013 @ 8:30 am

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