"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

First Time Jobless Claims

It is that time of the week again, so grab your noisemakers and party hats and get ready for the First Time Jobless Claims!
Last week, as you no doubt recall, results were mixed.  The advance seasonally adjusted initial claims figure came in at 388,000, which was better than the revised prior week claims but worse than the initial prior week claims.  Also, it missed expectations by 8,000.  Unadjusted claims figures came in at 354,301 (an increase of 3,097).    The initial state program insured unemployment level was 3,714,000 (a decline of 7,000), and the total number of all people claiming benefits in all programs was 8,770,443 (an increase of 5,619).
Like I said, mixed.
This week, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are expecting a modest improvement, calling for first time jobless claims to fall to "only" 385,000 new claims.
Now, we turn to the US Department of Labor for the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report for the week ending 4/2/2011.  Right off the bat, we see that the initial claims figure for the week ending 3/28 has been adjusted upwards to 392,000 (an increase of 4000).  The report then celebrates the fact that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending 4/2 comes in at 382,000, calling it a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week.  I see this as rather mixed - yes, it is a decrease from last week's initial claims, and it did beat expectations.  But, the claim of a 10,000 person decrease seems a little spurious since it's not a 10,000 decrease from the numbers everyone cared about last week.
Ah well, my opinion and $4.50 gets you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
The unadjusted number of initial claims comes in at 350,667, a healthy decline of 3,634.  The initial state program insured unemployment level (and I really need to come up with something shorter to call that) was revised upwards to 3,732,000 for last week and then comes in at 3,723,000 for the week ending 4/2.  The report calls this a decline of 9000.  And the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs?  8,524,455.

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