Skip to comments.Weekly jobless claims drop after weekly upward revision (377,000 week ending 06/03/2012)
Posted on 06/07/2012 6:47:35 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The only thing more amusing than the weekly upward revisions in the initial weekly jobless claims are the media reports of significant drops afterward. Today's case in point is the "drop" to 377,000 from last week's 383,000, which got revised upward to 389,000 ... the 64th upward revision in 65 weeks:
In the week ending June 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 377,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 389,000. The 4-week moving average was 377,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average of 376,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending May 26, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 26 was 3,293,000, an increase of 34,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,259,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,279,500, an increase of 11,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,268,000.
First, let’s make the extent of the increases and declines clear. A drop from 383K to 377K would have been just slightly over 1%. Going from 389K to 377 is a 3% change. These are basically variations within the same statistical band. It’s true that 377K is better than 389K, but it’s hardly a big shift in momentum — even if we could rely on the number, and not expect the DoL to upwardly revise it next week.
However, the AP called this a “sign of a stable job market” on its Twitter feed a few minutes after the release, and Reuters seems a little more excited by it (via Steve Eggleston):
The number of Americans lining up for new jobless benefits fell last week for the first time since April, a reminder that the wounded labor market is still slowly healing.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 377,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was spot on the median forecast in a Reuters poll.
The government revised the prior week’s figure up to 389,000 from the previously reported 383,000.
Prior to last week, claims had risen in four consecutive weeks, adding to concerns over several months of lackluster hiring data. While the country emerged from a deep recession three years ago, the jobless rate last month was 8.2 percent, well above its long-term historical average.
Still, most of the recent increases in new jobless claims were marginal and the overall level of claims has held at levels consistent with a modest recovery in the labor market.
Well, there was that 26,000 claim increase at the end of March, the one that pushed the series into the 370K-380K band two months ago. That was more than twice as much as this week’s drop between an upwardly-revised number and a yet-to-be-revised number. If that was “marginal,” then today’s change is relatively meaningless. It’s a continuation of the status quo. Maybe that’s what the AP means by “stable,” but stability at a 30-year low in the civilian participation ratio and high unemployment isn’t exactly an aspirational goal.
While we’re on the subject of reporting on Department of Labor numbers, many readers may be unaware that the DoL has changed its rules. From now on, the government agency will forbid media outlets from bringing their own computers to the BLS “lockups” where the data is under embargo, due to concerns over market vulnerability. Instead, the government will force them to use the BLS’ own computer systems to report on government data, which raises all sorts of questions about government intrusion on free speech and the free press:
According to Carl Fillichio, senior adviser for communications and public affairs at Labor, changing technology and the advent of global instant financial trading prompted the department to conduct its first review of security procedures in more than a decade. Algorithmic trading introduces new security variables into a lockup system not originally designed to guard against market-moving disruptions that could be caused by the release of government data to certain traders just seconds before the rest of the general public, he told lawmakers at the hearing. A few years ago, a few seconds here or there would not have had much of an impact. Today, fractions of a second can equate to millions or even billions of dollars in market movements.
In April 2011, the department contracted with Sandia National Laboratories to study system vulnerabilities in the BLS lockups. In an August 2011 report, which has not been released to Congress or the public, lab officials recommended a series of changes. Among them, journalists would no longer be permitted to use their own computers, software, or cables — only pens and notebooks. They would rely strictly on a government transmission over the Internet for the data and would no longer be permitted to exit the lockup room before the news embargo lifts.
Media groups have until mid-June to remove their equipment from the lockup room and the first run under the new procedures is scheduled for July 6, when the next national jobless numbers are scheduled to be released.
Members of the media — in the unusual role of appearing at hearings as witnesses — panned the new arrangements.
Daniel Moss, executive director of Bloomberg News, said the departments presentation of the new system was unprecedented in that it was done without honoring the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act and presented as nonnegotiable. He said using only government Internet feeds creates a single point of failure — many news organizations have backup systems in case of malfunction. Moss also complained that the government would literally own reporters notebooks, making them write on government computers, giving the government unfettered access. This is a First Amendment violation and a risk to national security in the form of cyberattacks, he said. He also criticized the Labor Department for failing to explain the system openly.
That’s okay. Maybe they’ll upwardly revise the number of computers each week.
What a tangled web.
It must be Thursday!
The betting pool is now open on what this week's jobless claim number will be revised to next week.
Let me start the fun with this week's 377,000 being revised to 382,000.
State UE offices were closed on Memorial Day...
I think they will revise last weeks numbers back down and this weeks up so that next week’s will be a drop in new ... I’m confused now.
The reports from the Department of Labor are a joke. Crap in, crap out.
More specifically "Agenda in, lies out"
“anything under 1,000,000 mean 0bama is the lord and savior” /s
I’m starting to think I could use this tactic regarding my shoe addiction.
Me: Yeah, but since I bought three pairs last week, two pairs this week is actually an IMPROVEMENT.
Him: I thought you bought TWO pairs last week?
Me: I miscounted. It was actually three. Soo... IMPROVEMENT going on here!
Him: How many pairs do you already have?
Me: Those don’t count because I’ve already worn them.
Heck, that tactic keeps confusing at least half the population, surely I can vet it to work on ONE person!
The media orgasms over every drop in claims, even though the drop is usually in the revision range. I have been following this metric fairly closely, and the media used to say that economists believe that 250,000 weekly jobless claims were a sign of a healthy economy. That number has gradually been escalating to 300,000, then 350,000. Lately I have seen that anthing below 400,000 was the magic number. They count on a dumbed-down readership doesn't remember earlier stories, and just swallows whatever propaganda that is being peddled.
Is the benchmark for wildly positive job growth at <500K yet?
LOL! I love your shoe analogy. Now to put it into practice...hmmmmmm. :)
The last paragraph in the yahoo/Reuters report says that 5.97 MILLION were currently getting weekly unemployment.
That, of course, excludes all those who have exhausted their UE benefits and are no longer even counted.
We all need to leverage this ‘initia’ and ‘revised’ trick!
Here are the trend numbers.
March 15: Reported - 351,000, Revised - 353,000
March 22: Reported - 348,000, Revised - 364,000 Reported - down, Actual - up
March 29: Reported - 359,000, Revised - 363,000 Reported - down, Actual - down
April 05: Reported - 357,000, Revised - 367,000 Reported - down, Actual - up
April 12: Reported - 380,000, Revised - 388,000 Reported - up, Actual - up
April 19: Reported - 386,000, Revised - 389,000 Reported - down, Actual - up
April 26: Reported - 388,000, Revised - 392,000 Reported - down, Actual - up
May 03: Reported - 365,000, Revised - 368,000 Reported - down, Actual - down
May 10: Reported - 367,000, Revised - 370,000 Reported - down, Actual - up
May 17: Reported - 370,000, Revised - 372,000 Reported - no chg, Actual - up
May 24: Reported - 370,000, Revised - 373,000 Reported - down, Actual - up
May 31: Reported - 383,000, Revised - 389,000 Reported - up, Actual - up
June 07: Reported - 377,000, Revised - TBD Reported - down, Actual - TBD
They could not manage to hide the up fact last week. But they did keep it at 10,000 last week vs. the revised and more accurate 16,000. (389,000 vs. 373,000).
They can not even keep the numbers below the mythical 370,000 that supposed AP says is ‘good’. We are clear now in ‘not good’ territory.
The 4 week average that they love to quote is now at its high in the last 4 weeks.
Recovery? What recovery?
I shall implement the new program this weekend!
How would you like to head up my Executive Department of Shoe Statistics? (Has a nice ring to it, dontcha think?)
From what I understand, you just pull a number out of thin air and we work from that.
I can get you some business cards from Vista Print and maybe a little podium from which you can announce the “unexpected” news each week if you think it will make it feel more “official”.
Thursday announcements are good for me. Over the weekend (prime shoe-shopping time) he’ll still be giddy over the news of IMPROVEMENT and by the next Thursday he’ll have forgotten the exact conversation.
Thanks for making me laugh. You truly are a woman with a plan. I hereby dub you the official Shoe Czar. All hail new summer sandals!