Initial Claims Illustrate Fed Dependency on Undependable, Ignorable Data

The headline, fictional, seasonally adjusted (SA) number of initial unemployment claims for last week came in at 271,000. The Wall Street economist crowd consensus guess was right on the money. That happens on occasion.

Instead of the seasonally manipulated headline number expectations game, we focus on the actual trend of the actual data. Facts and reality are much more useful than the Wall Street captured media’s fantasy numbers. Actual claims were 263,221, which is another record low for this calendar week, continuing a nearly uninterrupted string of record lows that began in September 2013.

Employers in some sectors are hoarding workers. Similar behavior in the past has been associated with bubbles, and has led to massive retrenchment, usually within 18 months or so. In the housing bubble, similar behavior continued well beyond the peak of that bubble in 2005-06. Employers seem to take their cues from stock prices. The current string is now 3 months beyond the point at which other major bubbles have begun to deflate. Is the bungee cord simply longer this time, or is this the new paradigm?

The Department of Labor (DoL) reports the unmanipulated numbers that state unemployment offices actually count and report to the DoL each week. This week it said, “The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 263,221 in the week ending June 20, an increase of 4,457 (or 1.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 1,607 (or 0.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 305,029 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014”

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This week of June is a swing week, with claims sometimes up, sometimes down, with a wide variance. There’s no evidence of seasonality. The actual change this week was an increase of 5,000 (rounded). That compared with an increase of -4,000 for that week last year and

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