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

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

First Time Jobless Claims

If it's Thursday, it's time for unemployment!
Last week, as you hopefully remember, the news for the week ending 4/9 was terrible.  First time claims came in at 412,000, missing expectations by 22,000.  The unadjusted number of initial claims increased 92,836 to a level of 443,503, the state program insured unemployment level came in for 4/2 at 3,680,000[1], and the total number of people claiming UI benefits in all programs was 8,517,545.
For the week ending 4/16, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are feeling optimistic.  they are calling for 390,000 new claims.  Is their confidence justified?  Let's have a look.
According to the US Department of Labor's weekly claims report, their confidence is not justified.  Claims for the week ending 4/9 were revised upwards to 416,000 (making last week's results even worse), and initial claims for the week ending 4/16 came in at 403,000 - missing expectations by 13,000.  On the other hand, the unadjusted initial claims figure for 4/16 has come in at 380.668, a decline of 62,835.  So that isn't too bad.
The state program insured unemployment level was revised upwards to 3,702,000 for the week ending 4/2, and has come in at 3,695,000 for the week ending 4/9.  The report calls that a decline of 7000, which is true but (in my opinion) misleading.  Everyone would have reacted to last week's reported 3,680,000 level, after all, and this week's level is up 15,000 from that figure.  But that's just my opinion.
Finally, the total number of people claiming UI benefits has come in at 8,229,810.
The takeaway?  We missed expectations.  Not as badly as last week, but badly.  This may very well put a damper on this last trading day of the short trading week.
[1]  One of the few bright spots, since that was down from the week ending 3/26.

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