Weekly initial jobless claims rise by 0.485% ...

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 2,000 to 414,000 from last week’s adjusted figure of 412,000, in what any statistician would say is statistical noise.  It represents a 0.485% change from the week before.  The rolling 4-week average rose 3750 to 414,750, a change of 0.912% from last week’s report.  Both are barely deviations week-on-week, and both fall solidly into the range of results we have seen from this measure over the last several weeks.

Which is why, of course, it comes as a complete shock to Reuters:

New U.S. jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week, further evidence of a weak labor market just hours before President Barack Obama delivers a major address to Congress on the issue.

Applications for unemployment benefits rose to 414,000 in the week ending September 3 from an upwardly revised 412,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Wall Street analysts had been looking for a dip to 405,000.

Just how unexpected was this result?  Reuters explains in the next sentence:

Excluding one week in early August, claims have held above 400,000 since early April.

Wow.  Has anyone revived the panel of economists Reuters employs yet?  I imagine their smelling-salts budget must be astronomical.

Since I’m pretty sure some editor at Reuters will think twice about letting this stay as is, I’ve captured the moment in graphic form:

Apparently, every negative economic indicator is “unexpected” at Reuters, which prompts the question as to whether they’re actually paying any attention to results — or just buying the White House spin.