Posts Tagged ‘unemployment claims’

Ping-Pong Seasonal Madness In Weekly Jobs Claims; How to Predict Whether the 4-Week Moving Average Will Rise or Fall

Courtesy of Mish

Weekly unemployment claims have been all over the map recently. Here are the seasonally-adjusted Weekly Unemployment Claims totals for the last 5 weeks.

Jan 27, 454,000
Jan 20, 403,000
Jan 13, 447,000
Jan 06, 411,000
Dec 30, 388,000

The first three numbers above are from the current report. I calculated the January 6, number. The December 30 number is from the archives.

The reported seasonally-adjusted number on January 6 reporting was 409,000. It was revised up but no one saw that revision.

The reason no one can easily spot revisions is the weekly report only gives the latest 3 weeks. I calculated January 6th number from the 4-week moving average, now reported as 428,750.

A similar calculation looking at the January 20 Weekly Claims Report shows that December 30, was revised up from 388,000 to 391,000. These are small revisions but even large ones would be hard to spot if you do did not do the math or go to the archives.

Computing the Missing Number and Hidden Revisions 

The 4-week moving average is constructed from the current 4 weeks. However the report only shows 3 weeks. To compute the week not shown, take the 4-week moving average (SA) and multiply by 4. Subtract the last three weeks shown on the report. What remains is the hidden 4th week used to compute the 4-week moving average.

Moreover, the difference between that number and was was originally reported for that number is a hidden revision.

Gaming the 4-Week Moving Average

If you want to pace a bet on whether the 4-week moving average will rise or fall, you need to know the number to beat and how to calculate it.

The number to beat is the missing number (as described above), about to roll off. In this case, 411,000.

Assuming no revisions, a number higher than 411,000 will cause next week’s 4-week moving average to rise. A number below 411,000 will cause next week’s 4-week moving average to drop.

My guess is the 4-week moving average will rise next week and fall the following week when the January 13 of 447,000 rolls off the report.

Clearly, if you are attempting to predict such numbers, it is critical to look at the number about to roll off.

What’s With The Ping-Pong?

Revisions and hidden numbers aside, inquiring minds are asking about the ping-pong.…
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Weekly Claims Exceed Every Economist Forecast Second Consecutive Week; Easter Comes Twice A Year

Weekly Claims Exceed Every Economist Forecast Second Consecutive Week; Easter Comes Twice A Year

Job Fair Held For Harrah's Entertainment Properties In Las Vegas

Courtesy of Mish 

For the second straight week, unemployment claims exceeded the forecast of every economist in a Bloomberg survey. Please consider Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Rose Last Week

The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly increased last week, indicating the improvement in the labor market will take time to unfold.

Initial jobless applications increased by 24,000 to 484,000 in the week ended April 10, the highest level since Feb. 20, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. A Labor Department spokesman said the rise in claims was due more to administrative factors reflecting volatility around Easter than economic reasons.

Economists forecast claims would fall to 440,000 from a previously reported 460,000 the prior week, according to the median of 44 projections in a Bloomberg News survey.

The range of economist estimates was 415,000 to 451,000.
The reported number was 484,000.
Not one economist came within 33,000 claims.
The worst was off by 69,000.

To be fair, these estimates are not necessarily easy to game. Equally fair, every economist was off by a substantial amount. Is there a bearish economist in the group?

Easter Comes Twice A Year

Flashback April 8, 2010: According to a Bloomberg survey,economists expected unemployment claims to drop, instead claims rose by 18,000.

Economists forecast claims would fall to 435,000 from a previously reported 439,000 the prior week, according to the median of 47 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from 420,000 to 450,000.

Easter is a difficult period to adjust for seasonal factors because it’s a floating holiday that doesn’t come at the same time each year, the government analyst said. Additionally, a state holiday in California on March 31 also complicated the tabulation of the data, he said.

Last week in Weekly Unemployment Claims Rise by 18,000 to 460,000, 4-Week Moving Average at 450,250 I pondered Easter complications …

If Easter is such a complication, why wouldn’t economists factor that in to their estimates? Did they not know when Easter was?

Regardless of the reason, all 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg were too optimistic. The most pessimistic forecast was 450,000 claims, the reported number was 460,000.

Last week, 47 out of 47 economists were overly optimistic and 44 out of 44…
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Jobless claims rise 7,000 to 480,000

Jobless claims rise 7,000 to 480,000

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

Small Dip Seen In Unemployment Numbers, First Drop Since January

Initial jobless claims for the week ended December 12th came in at a seasonally-adjusted (SA) 480,000, which is a rise of 7,000 from the previous week.  This brings the 4-week SA average down to 467,500, the lowest in 15-months.  Clearly layoffs have receded.  However, hiring has yet to begin in earnest, so the employment situation remains weak.

Because of heavy seasonal adjustments at this time of year, I think we will have to wait until after the holiday season for a more meaningful change in the data.  For now, the scenario is in a holding pattern: slow but steady decline in new claims mixed with weak hiring environment and a high level of unemployment and underemployment means a weak recovery.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DATA FOR REGULAR STATE PROGRAMS
 


 

Advance

 

 

 

Prior1

WEEK ENDING

Dec. 12

Dec. 5

Change

Nov. 28

Year


Initial Claims (SA)

480,000

473,000

+7,000

454,000

552,000

Initial Claims (NSA)

555,344

662,737

-107,393

457,707

629,867

4-Wk Moving Average (SA)

467,500

472,750

-5,250

480,750

535,250

 

Advance

 

 

 

Prior1

WEEK ENDING

Dec. 5

Nov. 28

Change

Nov. 21

Year


Ins. Unemployment (SA)

5,186,000

5,181,000

+5,000

5,470,000

4,356,000

Ins. Unemployment (NSA)

5,176,122

5,399,111

-222,989

4,791,751

4,378,273

4-Wk Moving Average (SA)

5,318,250

5,425,000

-106,750

5,542,500

4,208,250


Ins. Unemployment Rate (SA)

3.9%

3.9%

0.0

4.1%

3.3%

Ins. Unemployment Rate (NSA)

3.9%

4.1%

-0.2

3.6%

3.3%

Source

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report – US Department of Labor

 


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