Friday, March 16, 2012

New Unemployment Claims Not Improving

Thursday, we again got the Labor Deparment number for new unemplyment claims filed during the previouis week (seasonally adjusted and subject to REVISION next week, meaning the one-week number is always pretty much meaningless, except as put in context over time). This blog was proven CORRECT, as usual, about the previous week MEDIA LIE, as the number released the previous Thursday was again REVISED upward to 365,000. See last Thursday's article. Then you had the usual MEDIA LIES yesterday, as the media FALSELY compared the UNREVISED number released this Thursday with the REVISED number for the previouis week. Thus, the media LIED by tellling you, in essence, that the "concrete" number released yesterday was 351,000. That number is subject to REVISION (as was last week's number, and every weekly number released), and was mot probably 354,000 (give or take a thousand or so, if CONSISTENT recent history is any guide, as the UPWARD revision consistently averages about 3,000--not even taking into account the possible ERROR in the seasonal adjustment of 50,000 or more). Yes, there was the usual media LIE that the number of new unemplyment claims "dropped" 14,000. On a apples'-to-apples basis (unrevised number compared with unrevised number), the nujmber "drooped" 11,000, but even that does nto tell you how the number has STUCK at the same levvel for at least two months.

It was at least two onths ago that the weekly number of new unemplyment claims fell to the 350,000-355,000 level, and settled in a RANGE of 350,000 to 365,000 (with a bias toward a number between 350,0000 and 355,000). Thus, it is a LIE to say this number has been CONSISTENTLY "droppking". Al it did this week was REUTRN to the ver same level it was two weks ago, and a number of weeeks before lthat. NO IMPROVEMENT. We are again STUCK.

What this blog has told lyou, because it is true, is that the number is showing SOME "improvement" over LAST YEAR (the real, relevant comparison, although I lleave it as an exercise for the reader to go to the Labor Department cand comapre the RAW-not seasonablly adjusted--number for basically the same week last year with this year, meaning you basically try to recreate the "seasonal adjustment", as I continue to maintain that the media fails to report the complete information here). Last year (2011), we reached a LOW of 375,0000 in February (seasonally adjusted). That number began to DETERIORATE in March, and continued to deteriorate (more consistently) as we reached May, and into the summer. It did not "improve" again until essssentially the fall, repeating the pattern that has held true at least the past two years, and even applied in 2009 (although not 2008, because of the meltdown that occurred in August of f2008).

Thus, the only real sign of "improvement" in this number of new unemplyment claims is that we are not only SOMEWHAT better than last year, but we have also not YET begun to deteriorate (as we did going into summer in both 2010 and 2011). However, we ARE repeating the recent pattern to some degree, in that the number has STOPPED IMPROVING. Will we yet deteriorate again, as we head into summer (perhaps helped along by gasoline prices)? Tht remmains to be seen. As of now, all we can say is that the number of new jobless claims is MILDLY better than last year at this time, but NO LONGER IMPROVING. We are locked into a new, slightly "improved", ranage, and the question now is which way we go from here. No, next week will NOT "tell". Next week is just another, fallible data pont. TIME will tell, over the next four to eight weeks (always subject, of course, to being reversed at any time by new changes in the economy). For correct analysis, which you don't get from either the media or the financiial "press", keep consulting this blog.

P.S. No proofreading or spell checkng (bad eyesight).

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