Weekly jobless claims spike up 24K to 399K

posted at 9:15 am on January 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

That’s two big spikes in a row for weekly initial jobless claims, although this one has a twist.  Last week, the announced number of initial jobless claims was 381K.  Today’s report shows a further bounce upward to 399K, but the gap is wider thanks to a rare downward revision in the previous week’s figures (see update below):

In the week ending January 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 399,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 375,000. The 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 7,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 374,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending December 31, unchanged from the prior week’s revised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 31, was 3,628,000, an increase of 19,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,609,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,605,000, unchanged from the preceding week’s revised average.

This year, there have been some rumblings from economic analysts that the Department of Labor’s seasonal adjustments are overly aggressive.  Jay Cost wrote about this on Tuesday, and produced a nifty chart detailing the problem, which appears specific to December:

As I noted last Friday, there was a quirky gain of 40,000 jobs in delivery services like UPS and FedEx. This will be “given back” next month, in all likelihood.

More broadly, per Cardiff Garcia of the Financial Times and BizzyBlog, there has been a strange development in the seasonal adjustments to holiday economic numbers since the start of the current downturn.

The economic data that the media reports is typically adjusted for seasonal factors to give us a sense of the underlying trends in the economy. However, the economic collapse in the fourth quarter of 2008 might have been partially interpreted by the statistical models that produce the adjustments as a change in seasonal patterns. So, the models may now be adding a larger seasonal correction than they should be. As we can see here, it makes a difference in the numbers that the media reports. …

The formula that calculates the seasonally adjusted number started adding an extra 100,000 or so jobs to the December adjustment factor in 2008. If we take that out, we would have an actual print closer to 140,000 jobs, which (again) is right in line with the annual average.

That could be leading to a larger-than-expected seasonal impact on this weekly metric on initial claims, too.

Thanks to this statistical tweaking, even Reuters can’t ignore the significant shift in jobless claims:

The number of Americans applying for first-time jobless benefits rose on Thursday, reversing a recent decline and suggesting the labor market remains brittle.

Unemployment claims jumped to 399,000 in the first week of 2012, the highest in six weeks, from an upwardly revised 375,000 in the prior week. The four-week average of claims also marched higher to 381,750 from 374,000. …

The unemployment rate has fallen sharply in recent months and was 8.5 percent December, but some economists worry the drop has been due in part to discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force.

Not even in part.  If Jay Cost’s calculations are accurate, then we only added just enough jobs in December to barely stay ahead of population growth, which means that the entirety of the drop would be due to a decline in the work force.

Update: If you followed the link, you’ve probably already realized my mistake.  The 381K figure was from two weeks ago, not last week.  The revision from last week was upward by 3K.  Thanks to Steve Eggleston for the correction.


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If these numbers had happened to GWB, at 5% unemployment, the “media/dems” would be calling for impeachment.

RADIOONE on January 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Yes, your entire political system is built on partisan bullsh*t. Obama is no more or less partisan than any other president. He certainly cherry picks numbers just like any other president. Your side cherry picks the doom and gloom, his side cherry picks the positive things. It’s so childish.

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Right. Except the vast apparatus of DC is in the tank for O’bozo and the dems, which is why O’bozocare bends the cost curve down (CBO) and Iran ISN’T building a nuke (CIA intelligence estimate)

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

How many government jobs were shed in 2011?

Pretty simple question.

But of course, Rick Perry sure did hire lots of state employees now didn’t he.

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Umm, the ones hired for the CENSUS!!!!!

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Happy Nomad on January 12, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Amen, bruva

Ugly on January 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Unexpectedly…?

Seven Percent Solution on January 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Not “glad” at all…but not surprised, either. We don’t think his policies are good for this economy and even when it appears that something positive is happening it turns out to be nothing more than Obama’s administration manipulating the data or portraying a temporary holiday surge in hiring as a sign of “recovery.”

cicerone on January 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM
——
So when the numbers are good, (insert president name here) is manipulating them but when the numbers are bad, it’s the truth?

Okay thanks.

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM

FIFY.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 12, 2012 at 10:34 AM

I was going to go with the donk, but volume speaks volumes. Besides, I did say “post-partisan” :-)

Steve Eggleston on January 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM

That you did! Volume does speak, but donkeys tend to crap in their own yard over and over again in the same exact spots (trust me I know, used to own one). I guess I had that in mind as apropos to the current situation…

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

So when the numbers are good, (insert president name here) is manipulating them but when the numbers are bad, it’s the truth?

Okay thanks.

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM

You ACTUALLY think a republican president could massage the numbers and get away with it??? Still stuck on the NYT right?

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Wait until those 80,000 former military members hit the unemployment office in a few weeks.

Egfrow on January 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Notice how this whole mess is Bush’s fault, despite clinton’s forcing the carter era Community revitalization act down bank’s collective throats under duress. The comes dodd and frank to save the day, and protect fannie and freddie when Bush tries to prevent the coming collapse. Get real.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Wait until those 80,000 former military members hit the unemployment office in a few weeks.

Egfrow on January 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

I prefer to wait until they hit the voting booths…

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Wait until those 80,000 former military members hit the unemployment office in a few weeks.

Egfrow on January 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM
——-
Cut government employees!
Cut government employees!
Cut government employees!
WAIT NOT THOSE ONES

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Wait until those 80,000 former military members hit the unemployment office in a few weeks.

Egfrow on January 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

——-
Cut government employees!
Cut government employees!
Cut government employees!
WAIT NOT THOSE ONES

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I know. Mommy didn’t love you.

Ugly on January 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I know. Mommy didn’t love you.

Ugly on January 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Oh wow. That was ugly.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:29 PM

He’s probably audited or ticketed her one time too many

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM

But since the administration has control of the numbers, I can’t wait to see how much this RISE in unemployment equates to a DROP in the unemployment rate. And NO ONE will call them on it.

PorchDawg on January 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Would anyone here actually be happy if jobless claims went down? No you wouldn’t because that would reflect well on Obama. Don’t pretend otherwise: you’re glad jobless claims went up.

cjw79 on January 12, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Unlike the folks on your side, the folks here would admit it and be pleased if Unemployment and the economy actually improved. Further these are the sort who give credit where credit is due, regardless of what the ideaology of the person creating the policies leading to it.

That’s what distinguishes us from you. Like the difference between the Tea Partiers and the OWS defecation squad. You know what I mean?

Have you actually admitted to any of Obama’s litany of failures? Other than “he isn’t progressive enough,” I mean.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:15 PM

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Capital ‘U’

Ugly on January 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Unlike the folks on your side, the folks here would admit it and be pleased if Unemployment and the economy actually improved. Further these are the sort who give credit where credit is due, regardless of what the ideaology of the person creating the policies leading to it.

That’s what distinguishes us from you. Like the difference between the Tea Partiers and the OWS defecation squad. You know what I mean?

Have you actually admitted to any of Obama’s litany of failures? Other than “he isn’t progressive enough,” I mean.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:15 PM
——

zero hotair stories on positive U.S. economic news

zero

zero

zero

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

You ACTUALLY think a republican president could massage the numbers and get away with it??? Still stuck on the NYT right?

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM

If youi go back and look, they were screaming DEPRESSION when the U3 was between 4.5 and 5% back then every day all day. All the networks, CNN MSNBC all the papers. It was ridiculous.

Now they dont report it at all or when they do, its a bald faced attempt to propagandize the situation in favor of Emperor Zero. Its disgraceful.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:15 PM

That’s the beauty of it. We never need be called on whether we would give liberals credit. Nothing worth praising. Ever.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

zero hotair stories on positive U.S. economic news

zero

zero

zero

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Funny how that works.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

zero hotair stories on positive U.S. economic news

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Give us the U.S. positive economic news, Dave. I AM BEGGING YOU.

Ugly on January 12, 2012 at 1:23 PM

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Capital ‘U’

Ugly on January 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Ohhh. don’t go gettin all Ugly on me now :-)

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

zero hotair stories on positive U.S. economic news

zero

zero

zero

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I will be patient with you since you appear to have issues. There is no positive economic news if the news we get is all lies and propaganda.

You’re having a real problem digesting that, aren’t you. If there was something to celebrate we would. Did you go look at shadowstats or Youngstown yet?

Dude we have 30 million people out of work and the President’s best idea is to try to scrub the folks who cant find work out of the labor force.

So what good news? That Retail sales took a hit in december? Housing forclosures? People living in Obamavilles (not the OWS camps, but speaking of them, how about all the jobs and businesses lost due to them?)

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

That’s the beauty of it. We never need be called on whether we would give liberals credit. Nothing worth praising. Ever.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Oh I dunno! I was quite pleased when Billy Jeff signed the welfare reform act.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

zero hotair stories on positive U.S. economic news
 
zero
 
zero
 
zero
 
Dave Rywall on January 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

 
Please link to one of your similar-but-opposite posts at MSNBC and HuffPo.

rogerb on January 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Oh I dunno! I was quite pleased when Billy Jeff signed the welfare reform act.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Never would have done it if the repubs hadn’t taken over congress. Right thing to do, wrong reason.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

“Weekly unemployment benefits spiked last week to the highest level in six weeks, mostly because companies let go of thousands of holiday hires”….so, will OBOZO take “credit” for that, like he took credit for the previous TEMPORARY reduction in unemployment benefits ????

TeaPartyNation on January 12, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Never would have done it if the repubs hadn’t taken over congress. Right thing to do, wrong reason.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Yeah, I know, he could have vetoed it, but he didn’t. Nor was it his idea, though he later claimed credit…. hmmmmm I guess it’s hard to come up with something positive after all.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:36 PM

I was quite pleased when Billy Jeff signed the welfare reform act.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

But don’t forget that he wasn’t pleased. I remember the signing ceremony, he acted as if Congress had a gun to his head. That is, of course, until it worked and suddenly he was running around to be the architect of the whole thing.

It is the perfect example of the old saying that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.

Happy Nomad on January 12, 2012 at 1:42 PM

<blockquoteYeah, I know, he could have vetoed it, but he didn’t. Nor was it his idea, though he later claimed credit…. hmmmmm I guess it’s hard to come up with something positive after all.

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Civil rights I suppose, but they even took that too far with affirmative action. Environment? Same thing. It’s like a one year old who gets a laugh from an adult for dropping a toy from the high chair.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 1:45 PM

unadjusted, totaled 642,381.

I can see the actual number is the real deal.

seven on January 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Oh Dave

Don’t forget how the US turned out to be in the middle of a recession during the 2000 campaign, and the Media said he was just making it up.

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:08 PM

he = Bush

sorry

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM

unadjusted, totaled 642,381.

I can see the actual number is the real deal.

seven on January 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Ok. I’ll bite. what’s the question?

WryTrvllr on January 12, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Well you can put lipstick on a pig but…..

bgibbs1000 on January 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

don’t you dare call her an angry black woman!

Happy Nomad on January 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

..Happy Nomad in for the win!

The War Planner on January 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Dude we have 30 million people out of work and the President’s best idea is to try to scrub the folks who cant find work out of the labor force.

So what good news? That Retail sales took a hit in december? Housing forclosures? People living in Obamavilles (not the OWS camps, but speaking of them, how about all the jobs and businesses lost due to them?)

dogsoldier on January 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

..this is how the blowtorch if cynicism and doubt and the snarky comments should be employed here on HG. The unsuspecting liberal trolls who wader over here with their loins fully engorged for their heartthrob turdbag main squeeze in the White House should get both barrels.

Good job, DS! Keep it coming!

NO PRISONERS IN NOVEMBER!

The War Planner on January 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

“Unexpectedly”

Both stats, for the unemployed and the holiday sales figures were soooo predictable.

DR, we agree, but NO one lies better than Obama. He’s a sausage made from Muenchhausen, Pinocchio and Machiavelli.

Media, spontaneously combust for dereliction of duty.

Schadenfreude on January 12, 2012 at 4:09 PM

That you did! Volume does speak, but donkeys tend to crap in their own yard over and over again in the same exact spots (trust me I know, used to own one). I guess I had that in mind as apropos to the current situation…

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

That I didn’t know. How about “a donkey with an elephant’s colon”?

Steve Eggleston on January 12, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Hate to say it, folks, but you are looking at 9.2 to 9.5 (if not higher) by the end of March. Thank You Mr. Jack@$$-In-Chief!?!

Colatteral Damage on January 12, 2012 at 6:03 PM

The US has the 2nd highest corporate income tax rate in the world ( http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/economy/03rates.html?_r=1 ).
The federal government is suffocating businesses with expensive and burdensom regulations ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-25/obama-wrote-5-fewer-rules-than-bush-while-costing-business.html ).
Unions push for ever more costly compensation packages for less qualified and less productive workers, and get more destructive in their strikes when they don’t get their way (see ANY news article about union activity).
And people continue to cry about companies moving operations overseas. Seriously? You really can’t understand why that happens?

IF anyone in the government really wants to put people back to work, and stop companies from moving jobs overseas, it’s really pretty simple: 1) cut the corporate income tax rate 2) start cutting the mountain of regulations burdening US companies 3) eliminate the unions 4) eliminate the minimum wage.

dentarthurdent on January 12, 2012 at 6:21 PM

IF anyone in the government really wants to put people back to work, and stop companies from moving jobs overseas, it’s really pretty simple: 1) cut the corporate income tax rate 2) start cutting the mountain of regulations burdening US companies 3) eliminate the unions 4) eliminate the minimum wage.

dentarthurdent on January 12, 2012 at 6:21 PM

How far down the wage/benefits scale would Americans have to go before they could truly compete with the Chinese for jobs? Really?

Corporations don’t pay taxes. They pass those on to their customers. I believe in the FAIR tax anyway.

Yes, these mounting regulations don’t seem to be helping us out very much.

Eliminating unions would be along the lines of eliminating political parties, companies, social organizations and so on…doubt that’d be constitutional.

Eliminating the minimum wage would be fine with me. I think it actually kills jobs and businesses use it to justify low wages as a Federally mandated cap.

I would also add:

Audit and restructure the Federal Reserve Board.
Eliminate Fannie and Freddie.
Eliminate HEW, HUD, DOE, Labor, Energy.
Merge Commerce, Agriculture and Interior and make it the size of which ever the three is now the smallest.
Put Transportation as a (smaller) bureau under the CAI above.
Leave welfare issues to the states, but not as Federal mandates.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 12, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Good job, DS! Keep it coming!

NO PRISONERS IN NOVEMBER!

The War Planner on January 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Thank you.

dogsoldier on January 13, 2012 at 9:07 AM

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