Initial weekly unemployment claims dropped to 421,000 this week. Once again, the insanity of the financial press jumps on this like it's positive news. Initial weekly unemployment claims is a volatile number, subject to revisions.
From the jobless claims report:
In the week ending Dec. 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 421,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 438,000. The 4-week moving average was 427,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 431,500.
That said, this is the release from the previous week:
In the week ending Nov. 27, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 436,000, an increase of 26,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 410,000. The 4-week moving average was 431,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week's revised average of 436,750.
As one can see, last week's numbers were revised +2,000, comparing the previous week numbers to this advance, one gets a headline buzz of an 17,000 drop. Yet comparing advance reports, without revisions, the drop is 15,000.
Over and over and over again, the financial press goes nuts when this volatile and continually revised economic report is released with a drop. This is getting ridiculous, it's clear from the unemployment report as well as the history of initial claims, the United States is simply not creating enough jobs.
Below is the mathematical log of initial weekly unemployment claims, so one can get a better sense of the rise and fall of the numbers. A log helps remove some statistical noise, it's kind of an averaging. As we can see we have a step rise during the height of the recession, but then a leveling, not a similar decline. We have this yo-yo bobblehead, over 400,000 every week on initial claims, never ending labor malaise.
Below is a graph of the percent change in initial weekly unemployment claims for the last year. Look at how the numbers change bobs around zero, up and down, like a yo-yo.
Below is the 4 week moving average, set to a logarithmic scale to remove even more statistical noise, for the last year. Here a trend that is certain would appear. It looks like we have a start, but keep your fingers crossed, wait and see. Again, we need this metric to drop below 400,000 and keep dropping. We see a strong decline, but then again, hasn't everyone in America been fired by now?
Here is the drop in those covered by unemployment insurance, 233,032 who dropped off the rolls (in all probability) from extended unemployment benefits.
States reported 3,711,136 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending Nov. 20, a decrease of 233,032 from the prior week. There were 4,195,322 claimants in the comparable week in 2009. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.