Weekly Jobless Claims Post Huge Gain, Back to Normalized Reporting

The Labor Department has released its weekly jobless claims and this week is a normalized number compared to last week's huge artificial drop due to one large state not having their numbers recorded to reflect the quarter-end. The weekly claims rose by 46,000 to 388,000 but last week's claims were revised higher to 342,000 from the prior artificially low number of 339,000. That higher revision still obviously does not include the data from the missing large state.

Dow Jones and Bloomberg both had a consensus estimate of 365,000 in weekly claims, and the range of estimates we saw was 360,000 to 385,000 for the week. Again, the huge drop last week and the huge pop this week are really skewed because the prior week was not counting a large state's report, according to the Labor Department and according to most major media outlets at this time a week ago.

The four-week average rose by 750 to 365,500. The army of unemployed measured by the continuing claims (with a one week lag) fell by 29,000 to 3,252,000. With a one-week lag, we would note that those continuing claims may also have been skewed by that large state not having its data recognized.

If you just skip last week and do a straight line, then the change would have been from the report two weeks ago at 369,000. If that is the case then jobless claims are still on the rise. That contentious number of 7.8% unemployment is still up for debate.

JON C. OGG

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