May 1, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (050114); 344K SA; Raw Claims UP 5.1% Over Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:45 am


  • Bloomberg — no specific prediction here or here.
  • Business Insider — “Expectations are for a decrease to 320,000 from 329,000.”

Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended April 26, 2014 — 92.2
  • Week ended April 27, 2013 — 90.8

Raw Claims:

For the actual result to meet or beat Business Insider’s prediction, raw claims will have to be 295,000 or lower (295K divided by .922 is 320K, rounded). That raw claims number would be slightly below last week’s pre-revision figure and only a couple of percent below last year’s.

That seems like what’s going to happen, but keep in mind that last week’s raw claims were probably tamped down a bit by Good Friday. The week before that (i.e., the week ended April 12) came in at 318,793 (after revisions, per last week’s report). A return to that level will generate a 345K seasonally adjusted result.

We’ll see here at 8:30 a.m.

Here it is — Ouch (permanent link):


In the week ending April 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 344,000, an increase of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 329,000 to 330,000. The 4-week moving average was 320,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 316,750 to 317,000.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 317,184 in the week ending April 26, an increase of 18,002 (or 6.0 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 5,284 (or 1.8 percent) from the previous week. There were 301,622 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

So raw claims came in over 5 percent above last year. We’re supposedly improving, if you believe the White House and the press. Really? (No, I don’t think the Good Friday spillover effect explains the difference, not when YOY raw claims have declined consistently for a long, long time.)

This doesn’t bode well for bringing down the nominal unemployment rate tomorrow, despite the press mantra that consistent seasonally adjusted readings below 350,000 should do that. Additionally, I obviously can’t know this for sure, given BLS vagaries, including unpredictable seasonal adjustments, but the people expecting 215,000 in job additions tomorrow might want to reconsider.



  1. Wonderful – we’ve increased personal spending by nearly double our increase in income.

    As for the 344K jobless claim number, I’ll point out that last week was Easter week, which has never been properly adjusted for.

    Comment by steveegg — May 1, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  2. I think the most pertinent factor is that YOY claims are up; both weeks involved were “normal” business weeks unaffected by holidays and the like — unless you want to argue for spillover from Good Friday, which I think is shaky.

    Comment by Tom — May 1, 2014 @ 8:43 am

  3. The prior week was a “normal” business week very minorly affected by Good Friday at the end (most states no longer even take a half-day off for that outside schools, which still take the full day off). Last week was massively affected by the fact most public schools took the entire week off following Easter, which, combined with the Good Friday day off, allows those employees to claim one week’s worth of unemployment.

    Because Easter moves around the calendar, that phenomenon is not properly adjusted for.

    Comment by steveegg — May 1, 2014 @ 8:49 am

  4. [...] Initial Unemployment Claims, week ended April 26 — 344,000 seasonally adjusted claims, last two weeks have trended upward. [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — May 2, 2014 @ 8:16 am

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