Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jobless Claims: Fiction and Media Lies

Look at this blog's article two weeks ago, when new unemployment claims were reported just under 400,000 (really a meaningless number, in terms of whehter the number is a few thousand above or below that number, but a number thant the media has been focusing on), at 299,000. As this blog told lyou, the media LIED 9as they do every single week) when they said that the number was "under" 400,000. That is not only because there is NO difference between 399,000 and 400,000, as te marging of error is much greater than 1000 in all events. But, specifically, the weekly number of new unemplyment calims is ALWAYS revised the next week-usually UP by 3,000 or 4,000. This blog told you that the likelihood was that the number reported two weeks ago would be rEVISED to above 400,000. It WAS. That made the overall score: This blog 10,934 Media 0. This reporting of the weekly unemlplyment claims number as an EXACT number is a weekly LIE from our incompetent, dishonest media. By the way, that 399,000 number ORIGINALLY reported i sSUSPICIOUS. If you are not cyncial enough to know why, I cannnot help you.

What else did I tell you two weeks ago? I told you that the number of waeekly unempployment calims is SEASONALLY ADJUSTED (not mere counting), and that the WEEKLY seasonsal adjustment is UNRELIABLE. I told lyou that this atually producing a margin of error in the WEEKLY number of as much as 50,000. You may have doubted me on that, but last week's number PROVED me right. The actual COUNTED number varies WILDY week-to-week, and if the seasonal adjustment (as much as 150,0000 or more) is not correct because the seasonal pattern has not operated exactly as the formula assumes, then the REORTED number (the media NEVER reporting the actual number, before the seasonal adjustment) is gong to be WRONG by tens of thousands. Thus, that 402,000 number for two weeks ago was UPO almost 30,000, but I told you that such rise did NOT mean much unless and until the DETERIROATION was confirmed OVER TIME. Indeed, Isuggested that the jury is stil out on whether the whle economy has entered into a PATTERN where it looks like it is improving in the second half of a ywar (as it has since 2009), and then looks like it is deteriorating in teh first half of the next year--while all it is really doing is BuMPING ALONG TH EBOTTOM without either getting much worse or getting much better. Well, the jury is still out on that theory, but last week's reported number shwoed what I meant about each week's number being pretty meaningless (in terms of meaning anything as an isolated number).

The number of new unemplyment claims reported last week dropped a WHOPPING 50,000 from the REVISED 402,000 the week before. That was FICTION. No, there is NO doubt about that. Indded, what that number proved is that the 402,000 number was also FICTION. The seasonal adjustmentssimply failed to work right for those two weeks. Wat is the CORRECT number--"seasonally adjusted" corrrectly? Oh, it is impossible to really know. TIME will tell, and thiss week's rport of new unmpllyment calaims will come out tomorrow. it wil give us SOME idea, although MORE TIME, and numbers, are necessary to estalbish a "trend". As it is, the numbers have been soerratic, involving holiday and post-holiday weeks, thatNO TREND can be discerned (despite media LIES to the contrary). The best GUESS would probably be to AVERAGE out the previous two weeks, whch would average around 380,00 (especially after tehe expected REVISON of last week's 352,000 number UP 3,000 or so). That AVERAGE of 375,000 to 380,000 is actualy UP from the average for the previous four weeks--although fairly close (wee within the LARGE marging for error). Thus, despite the wide swings, the previous two weeks MAY have just meant an UNCHANGED layoff situation. I would also mention that the WEATHER has been very good this winterm compared with the last two winterw, and that could DISTORT the seasonal pattern. In all events, you should be able to see how my "estimate" of a "marging of error" of 50,000 was PROVEN right. It is IMPOSSIBLE for the actual labor marktet to have CHANGED from deteriorating almost 30,000 in one week, and then improving 50,000 in the next week. Q.E.D. These numbers are FICTIN (as to the isolated weeks), and there is a marging of error of at least 50,000 possible in each week's reported number.

Does that mean that the 352,000 number was not "good" news? Not exactly. The main sense in which it was "good" news is that the RISE to above 400,000 th eprevius week was shown to probably be FICTIno (as was the 352,000 number). The LIE of the media is reporting these weekly numbers as if they actually mean anytnhing for AN INDIVIDUAL WEEK. As state, the last two weeks--best guess, until we get more numbers---0woul dseem to indicate an UNCHANGED labor market over the past several months. Under, 400,000, but WIHOUT a "trnd" of steadily improving numbers. And the question still remains whether this is a real improvement (the drop below 400,00, which happened at the beginning of last year as well--although this year has done SLIGHTLY better), or thether we are just dealing with a new pattern of seasonality in the U.S. economy. The WEATHER alone might account for the SLIGHT improvement in this December and January over December and Januarya year ago.

Well, the weekly number of new unemploymenbt callaims will be reorted tomorrow (today on the East Coast, as it is after midnight there). What will it mean? In isolation, it will mean VERY LITTLE, even though the media will again LIE about the significance of whatever number is reported. You wuld EXPECT the nuber to go up substantially, toward the AVERAGE of tgeh previous two weeks. IF the number stays around 350,000, that MIGHT (if continued to be confiremed in the weeks aghead) mean that the 402,000 number awas an ABERRATION, and that the weekly number is actual IMPROVING. IF we go back to 390,000 to 400,000, then we just know that we are still dealing with FICTION, and that the weekly swing is too violent to be real. The 'real" numbe might be alomst anyting, because there would be NO consistent pattern--meaning the formula has broken down. The four-week average might be the bestiindicatior of which diretn we are moving, but when the sings are this wild even the four-week average is DISTORTED. Onllyl TIME can tell us (approximately) where we are. I continue to assert that REAL "journalists' would report the RAW number every week, along with the revised nubmer. Sure, you can find it out from teh Labor Deaprtment site. But the job of the media is to INFORM the people--not to LIE to them and trust them to figure it out themselves. This reufsal to examine the REAL significance of ALL of the weekly numbes, in context over the entire prevouis year, is not only bad "journalism". It MAY make it easier to MANIPULATE the numbers, as nobody really examines whether this "ADJUSTED" weekly number is being reported correctly. Since presumbably SOME people are looking at the raw numbers, and comparing them with previous years--along with comparing the adjustments for previous years--you would HOPE that no real manipulation is taking place. But I stand behind the assertino that failing to investigate and report what thewse weekly numbers really mean, and how they compare with the raw and adjusted numbers in previous years, makes it EASIER for manipulation to occur> I doubt if any real serious manipulation is occurring, because I don't believe in conspiracy theories (they fall apart--too many people know hat its going on). Att he very least, however, the media owe it to the PUBLIC to actually look into these nubers week by week, and not act like the weekly number has a meaning it DOES NOT HAVE--or an EXACTNESS that it DOES NOT HAVE>

What has thiis article done? Well, if lyou can follow it, and my lack of proofreading and spell checking has not ggarbled it too much (bad eyesight makng it effetgively impossible fore me to do those things), this article has informed you HOW to look at the weekly unemployment number to be reported Thursday, and lkook THROUGH THE MEDIA LIES to have some underfstanding of what the number actually means, and how fallible it is (espeically in isolation). You could even, if you wanted., look at the Labro Department site and do waht the media SHOULD do: "investigatgte" the raw number, tghe "seasonally adjusted" number, and how this compares with what happened with those numbers LAST YEAR (and even the year befroe that). No, it really is too difficult (eyesight again) for me to do this FOR YOU. So I leave it as an exercise for the reader. I don't even expect it to be any kind of "exercise" of the "journalists" supposedly reporting this stupff, because those peole are INCOMPETENT FOOLS who LIE to you every single week on the "meaning" of the weekly number (not to mention the exactness of it--which affects the meaning).

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