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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Jobless Claims: Hairy Hissmas And A Crappy New Year

Here's the amusing spin machine! In the week ending Dec. 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 422,000. The 4-week moving average was 414,000, a decrease of 12,500 from the previous week's revised average of 426,500. Yeah, ok. Amusing number, really - the DOL invented 133,000 seasonal adjustment jobs! That is, the unadjusted, actual number was 521,834. That's up 24,879 from the previous week. This is particularly troublesome to me for a number of reasons - with the week shortened by Christmas Eve (offices closed to a large degree) we should have seen fewer unadjusted claims and the adjustment should have been upward, not downward, to account for the holiday closures. Are we playing "Goebbels Media" again? Sure looks like it to me. The complete data table of the various programs to December 11th tells a tale of possible trouble, but the push-pull nature of the story is difficult to decipher: The futures moved up a bit on the original number release, but it appears that people were able to read beyond the headline this time around, and recognized the unadjusted number for what it was - dogcrap - and quickly discarded the "screaming harpy" nonsense from the media.

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