April 10, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (041014): 300K SA; Raw Claims Edge Up 1.3% From Previous Week, Which Was Itself Revised Up

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


Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended April 5, 2014 — 99.3
  • Week ended April 6, 2013 — 102.7

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended March 29, 2014 — 294,862, revised up from 289,535 initially reported last week, leading to an upward revision to 332,000 of last week’s original 326,000 seasonally adjusted figure.
  • Week ended April 6, 2013 — 356,935

That’s a pretty big upward revision to last week’s numbers.

For today’s prediction to end up accurate, raw claims will need to be 318,000 or below (318K divided by .993 is 320K, rounded). That should happen. If it doesn’t, we have a problem. To be worry-free, today’s the seasonally adjusted number really should come in at 300,000 or below (Update: AND stay there next week), which would mean that raw claims barely moved up from last week’s adjusted figure.

This is especially true because last week’s raw claims, after revision, were 7.6 percent higher than the previous week (all weeks involved are “clean” weeks involving no holidays).  We really can’t afford to see them head up much further.

8:30 a.m.: DOL has announced 300,000 at its home page.

8:33 a.m.: The report is out (permanent link — DOL has gone to presenting these weekly reports in PDF format from here on out; also notice some additional verbiage, which may or may not be legitimate enhancements):


In the week ending April 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 300,000, a decrease of 32,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The last time initial claims were this low was May 12, 2007 when they were 297,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 6,000 from 326,000 to 332,000. The 4-week moving average was 316,250, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,500 from 319,500 to 321,000.

There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 298,393 in the week ending April 5, an increase of 3,531 (or 1.2 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 34,865 (or 11.8 percent) from the previous week. There were 356,935 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

“The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 34,865 (or 11.8 percent) from the previous week.” Excuse me, but what does THAT mean? (I intend to find out, just not immediately. Update: See below.)

A year-over-year comparison of raw claims is meaningless because last year’s comparable week was Easter Week.

While the press will sing hosannahs over the 300K seasonally adjusted number. The truth is that raw claims basically held steady (up by about 1.3%). That of course is better than seeing them zoom up. But given last week’s big upward revision, we really should see if today’s raw claims figure holds in next week’s report.


UPDATE: As to the comparative language (“lowest since May 2007″), let’s see if DOL continues to provide it when seasonally adjusted claims go up.

UDPATE 2: What the statement “The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 34,865 (or 11.8 percent) from the previous week” really means is “For seasonally adjusted claims to come the same as or better than last week, raw claims needed to be 329,727 or lower.”

294,862 (last week’s revised raw claims) plus the 34,865 just cited is 329,727 raw claims.

329,727 divided by .992 (this week’s seasonal adjustment factor) is 332,000 (last week’s revised seasonally adjusted claims, rounded).

Seasonal adjustment factors are abstract things which don’t “expect” anything.

If DOL is going to try to do something comparative to the prior week, my language is vastly better, but I’m not convinced that it’s worth it to even bother with the narrative. It’s giving the seasonal factors too much presumptive credit for somehow being precise. They’re anything but that.

It will also be interesting to see how this narrative changes during weeks when raw claims come in higher than the seasonal factors might supposedly indicate.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (041014)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.


It was a year ago, it but deserves notice: On March 23, 2013, 46 Senators, including 44 Democrats and the two “Independent” leftists, voted AGAINST a Senate resolution “To uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.” One of the “No” votes was Ohio’s own Sherrod Brown.

In September, the U.S. “became the 91st country to sign when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry put pen to paper.” The treaty would still need to be ratified by the Senate to be valid under the Constitution, assuming anyone pays attention to that any more.

Despite reassurances to the contrary, there is every reason to believe that the U.N. treaty, if ever ratified, would be a wedge the world body would use to usurp national sovereignty.

We’re supposed to be reassured that the Obama administration negotiated the following language into the treaty before signing it: ”non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction.” Sorry, guys. No sale, because it all depends on what “essentially” means; that word wouldn’t be there if they were truly serious.


The incident involved happened in 2012, but the conditions creating such incidents have only gotten worse — “Car With ‘Co-Exist’ Bumper Sticker Runs Over Pro-Life Display”

Positivity: More young women choosing health over birth control

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome:

Apr 8, 2014 / 02:01 am

Brianna Heldt was 20 years-old when she first started taking the birth control pill. As an Evangelical Protestant, she believed in saving sex for marriage, but the young college student was planning her wedding and wanted to delay having children for a few years.

Like many young women, Heldt visited her college’s campus health clinic and got a prescription.

What followed was an unexpected and “horribly difficult” time for Heldt and her husband.

“From the time I began taking it I had severe headaches,” she recounted. “I was constantly bloated and hungry, and worst of all, I became an emotional wreck. Things that would never have bothered me before made me cry uncontrollably. Kevin (my husband) and I had always gotten along so well but we began arguing, and I was perpetually frustrated with him.”

“Intercourse was painful,” she added. “I even saw an OB/GYN about this problem who never once connected those dots for me, and just tried to tell me that it was some sort of psychological problem. But it was not.”

It turns out that Heldt’s experience was not unique. This January, 90s talk show host Ricki Lake opted to make a documentary exploring the dangers of hormonal contraceptives.

Based on Holly Grigg-Spall’s book, “Sweetening The Pill: or How We Became Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control,” the full-length film will consider the dangers of the birth control pill, as well as other contraceptives such as Yaz and Nuvaring.

“In the 50 years since its release, the pill has become synonymous with women’s liberation and has been thought of as some sort of miracle drug,” said Lake and her co-producer, Abby Epstein. “But now it’s making women sick and so our goal with this film is to wake women up to the unexposed side effects of these powerful medications and the unforeseen consequences of repressing women’s natural cycles.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Ron Fournier Thinks Harry Reid’s ‘Lying’ Ads Will Cause Dems to ‘Pay a High Price’; On What Basis?

The National Journal’s Ron Fournier appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show on Tuesday and blasted Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for “making facts up” and “lying” in his non-stop campaign against the eeeeevil Koch Brothers.

Bless his naive little heart, Fournier even actually said: “Shame on us if we in the media let him get away with this.” “If”? What’s all of a sudden going to prevent that from happening, Ron? If anything, the already slim chances that the press will cover Reid’s fairy tales have decreased, given strong evidence that Washington Post reporters completely invented a story about the Koch Brothers’ lease holdings in shale oil-rich Canada — a story which “just so happened” to end up being the basis for a letter to Koch Industries’ President demanding answers sent by a Democratic senator and congressman. The video segment, including Van Susteren’s explanation as to why Reid can legally get away with being so reckless (HT National Review’s The Corner; bolds and paragraph breaks are mine), follows the jump: