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Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Time Jobless Claims

It's Thursday, and Thursday means unemployment.
The week ending 7/16, assuming the figures don't get adjusted upwards again for the 18th time in 22 weeks, had results that were disappointing but not terrible.  The analysts were looking for a seasonally adjusted 415,000 new jobless claims, and we got 418,000 - pretty close, al things considered.  The unadjusted number of initial claims came in at 464,865 (down 5,806) and the week ending 7/2 saw the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs come in at 7,325,198 - a decline of 159,696 in the last week of a month that only saw the creation of 18,000 new jobs.
The Econoday-surveyed analysts are not quite so optimistic for the week ending 7/23, calling for 425,000 initial claims.  So let's go to the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report and see what happened.
And... wow.  That's interesting.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first.  The initial claims figure for 7/16 was adjusted upwards again[1][2] to a level of 422,000.  But, for the week ending 7/23, the seasonally adjusted initial claims figures came in at 398,000 -
Yes, you read that right.  398,000.  Which means a decline of 20,000.  At least until it gets revised upwards[3] next week.  But let's revel in having a positive surprise for the moment, shall we?
Yay, reveling.
The actual initial claims figure for the week ending 7/23 comes in with good results as well, falling 98,287 to a level of 366,578.  On the other hand, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending 7/9 rose 320,403 to a level of 7,645,601.  Of course, that's the week in which we had 470,671 unadjusted initial claims, so that's not too surprising.
So there you go:  some good news in the job markets.  We had an unexpected drop in the rate of increase in unemployment for one week.  Hopefully, this marks the start of a new trend.
[1]  Surprise!
[2]  Putting us at 18 times adjusted upwards out of 22 weeks.
[3]  Something that I figure has an 81.81% chance of happening...

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