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

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Time Jobless Claims

It's been a few days since I got one of these out, but I couldn't miss today.  It's Thursday!  And that means unemployment!
Last week, we nailed expectations dead on.  The analysts expected an adjusted 405,000 new claims for the week ending 7/9, and that's exactly what they got.  The unadjusted number of initial claims came in at 470,671 (up 53,873), and the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending 6/25 hit 7,484,894 (up 25,333).
The Econoday-surveyed analysts aren't feeling as optimistic for the week ending 7/16.  They're calling for - no, not 420,000 - they're calling for 415,000 initial claims for the week.  And lo!.  It is 8:30, and time to check the actual results.
Looking at the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report, the first thing that we see is that - once again - the previous week's initial claims figures have been adjusted upwards, to a level of 408,000[1].  The (unreliable, based on recent statistics) advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending 7/16 then comes in at 418,000 - missing expectations, but not by a terrible margin.  The unadjusted number of initial claims comes in at 464,865, a decline of 5,806.  For the week ending 7/2, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs was 7,325.198, a somewhat depressing decline of 159,696[2]
[1]  If you're playing the home game, this means that the figures have now been adjusted upwards in 17 of the last 21 weeks.
[2]  Depressing?  Yes.  We only saw 18,000 new jobs added - in total - for the month of June.  So, 159,696 people stopped claiming unemployment benefits in the last week of a month that only added 18,000 new jobs.  Which means that, playing the averages, 155,196 of the people no longer claiming benefits are doing so because they have run out of benefits.