Weekly Initial Claims for January 21, 2010, Jump 36,000

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims jumped 36,000. I think all know at this point I do not like this metric for it's so loaded with noise and revised continually.


One of the more dramatic numbers are the ones falling off the UI roles and into emergency funds and note these numbers are 19 days old:

States reported 5,654,544 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending Jan. 2, an increase of 652,364 from the prior week.

That said, the below graph from Brad Delong is of strong interest, especially since on this site, seasonal adjustments have been a cause of contention.


Delong's comment is he needs to examine seasonal adjustments and with such divergence, I would say so and look for his analysis.

Here is the raw not seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims:


Seasonal adjustments should cancel themselves out on a year to year basis and my understanding this is sorted out in February, but one can see these graphs are highly divergent and seasonal adjustments are not published, part of a complex algorithm, which seemingly is also not published.

Meanwhile the DOL put forth a bunch of excuses on why initial weekly claims bumped up so high:

A Labor Dept official did say that a backlog in the processing of claims due to the Christmas and New Yrs holidays was a factor in the surge this week but it wasn’t quantified. Also, some states had to estimate claim filings due to the MLK holiday.

Now beyond the discrepancies showing between seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted (an exercise for the reader is to crank the raw numbers on a yearly average) again, this metric has enormous noise, so the monthly data gives a better picture. Ya just cannot knee jerk react to these weekly reports.

Subject Meta: 

Forum Categories: 

That's a strong divergence

It's curious why the gap between the seasonally adjusted numbers and the non-seasonally adjusted numbers is so large.
If the non-seasonally adjusted numbers collapse in the coming few weeks then it doesn't mean much. But if it doesn't...