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

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

First Time Jobless Claims

It's Thursday!  And if it's Thursday, it's time for unemployment insurance claims!
Last week, the figures for the week ending 5/7 came in pretty much in line with expectations.  The first time claims for 4/30 were revised downwards to 473,000, and the advance figure for initial claims for the week ending 5/7 came in at 434,000 - which actually missed expectations, but only by 4000 (a veritable drop in the bucket).  Unadjusted initial claims for 5/7 came in at 394,583, and the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs fell to 7,983,672 ( a decline of 31,247 from the previous week).
Now, for the week ending 5/14, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are feeling even more optimistic.  They're calling for the number of new claims for the week to fall to 425,000.
Are they even remotely accurate?  To find out we turn to the US Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report, where we see that....
So, first of all, the initial claims figure for 4/7 was revised upwards to 438,000.  Not great, in and of itself, but it's this week's figures that drive the "wow".  For the week ending 5/14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 409,000.
Repeat after me:  wow.  Expectations have been beaten like a Syrian pro-Democracy protester.
The unadjusted initial claims figure for 5/14 comes in at 357,872 (down 36,711 from last week), and the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs was - for the week ending 4/30[1] -  7,936,548 (a decline of 47,124).
Overall, that's pretty good news for the week.  The markets should like this.
[1]  Yeah, there's a bit of a delay in that figure.

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