Adjustments

Jobless claims down by 32,000. But they warn that it might be off because –

The level was much lower than Wall Street economists had been expecting but a Labor analyst warned that adjustments intended to deal with seasonal fluctuations in claims may have had a downward impact on the numbers.

“The seasonal factors expected a lot more (claims) than we experienced,” the analyst said.

I’ll bet this is the adjustment they made – this time of year there are a bunch of new unemployed because retailers lay off the Christmas help. They adjust for that so we don’t get suddent huge jumps in the new unemployment claim figures. But this year retailers didn’t HIRE as much extra Christmas help, so the adjustment wasn’t needed. They made this mistake at the end of summer. They adjusted for all the kids who usually leave summer jobs, even though very few were hired this year.

This is why the monthly employment numbers look so much worse than the adjusted weekly numbers. The monthly numbers are calculated using a different method, including surveys – actually checking with homes and businesses to see what’s going on out there.