Sunday, December 15, 2013

Noise in claims data makes the measure useless for now

The US initial jobless claims measure has often been difficult to interpret due to seasonal and other effects, but it has been all but useless lately. The latest spike (last week) has to do with the fact that Thanksgiving was late this year and the seasonal adjustment was simply incorrect.


Most economists believe that the trend in US jobless claims is still downward sloping. One positive sign in particular has been the recent drop in the number of Americans receiving extended unemployment benefits.
Bloomberg: - The continuing claims figure does not include the number of Americans receiving extended benefits under federal programs. Those job-seekers declined by almost 102,000 to 1.25 million in the week ended Nov. 23.
Whatever the case, the initial claims numbers are currently not very meaningful and should be ignored.
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