logo
  Join        Login             Stock Quote

A New (Temporary?) Glitch In The Jobless Claims Data

 January 24, 2013 01:15 PM


The January economic data is starting to trickle in, and so far the signals are encouraging. Well, mostly encouraging. There's a question about the year-over-year change in unadjusted jobless claims, which are posting an increase for the second week in a row. But the seasonally adjusted numbers are still trending positive, and so the warning in the raw data may be a statistical quirk rather than a genuine warning. Supporting the case for optimism for the first month of the new year so far is today's strong gain in the Markit US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for January.

[Related -A Lesson For the Bears From 2007]

It's still far too early to say anything close to definitive about January, but let's bide our time anyway with a look at what we've seen so far. Let's start with today's jobless claims data. New filings for unemployment benefits fell again last week, dropping to 330,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis—a five-year low. As the chart below shows, last week's total was another convincing strike downward into new territory in the post-Great Recession period. So far, so good.

[Related -Google: Still Opportunities Ahead]

But there's a puzzling lack of follow-through in the year-over-year change in the unadjusted data. For the second week in a row, the raw claims data has increased over its year-earlier level. On its face, this is troubling. But a closer look at the numbers suggests this is a temporary glitch, which isn't unprecedented for a data series that's known for lots of volatility in the short run.

Supporting the case for seeing the glass half full: the seasonally adjusted data continues to trend lower, both on a weekly basis and on a year-over-year basis. There's also quite a bit of encouraging news in the December economic reports, and today's January data point from Markit on the PMI front extends the upbeat numbers into January for the moment.

So what should we make of the annual rise in the unadjusted weekly claims data? For now, it looks like a statistical digression. It's not the first time that the usually reliable year-over-year comparison fell off the wagon. It'll be a different story, of course, if the annual increases persist.

We'll know soon enough. Indeed, next week brings more January numbers, including the all-important payrolls data and the ISM Manufacturing Index. I remain cautiously optimistic that the positive trend we've seen in a wide array of reports recently will roll on. But there's always a statistical fly in the ointment, and it happens to be unadjusted jobless claims this time around. But one or two pests at a picnic isn't a reason to pack up.
iOnTheMarket Premium
Advertisement

Advertisement


Post Comment -- Login is required to post message
Name:  
Alert for new comments:
Your email:
Your Website:
Title:
Comments:
 

rss feed

Latest Stories

article imageA Lesson For the Bears From 2007

Bears almost never get a top where they want it. During 2007, the S&P 500 fell below its 200-day moving read on...

article imageGoogle: Still Opportunities Ahead

Google (GOOGL) shares are finally recovering after announcing third-quarter earnings last week that were read on...

article imageThis Technical Indicator May Be The Simplest Way To Pick Winning Stocks

What's the first rule of successful real estate investing? Of course, you just said to yourself, "location, read on...

article imageUpdate On Crude Oil Markets

Crude prices came under pressure again today. According to Reuters (from last week), the Saudis “will read on...

Advertisement
Popular Articles

Advertisement
Daily Sector Scan
Partner Center



Fundamental data is provided by Zacks Investment Research, and Commentary, news and Press Releases provided by YellowBrix and Quotemedia.
All information provided "as is" for informational purposes only, not intended for trading purposes or advice. iStockAnalyst.com is not an investment adviser and does not provide, endorse or review any information or data contained herein.
The blog articles are opinions by respective blogger. By using this site you are agreeing to terms and conditions posted on respective bloggers' website.
The postings/comments on the site may or may not be from reliable sources. Neither iStockAnalyst nor any of its independent providers is liable for any informational errors, incompleteness, or delays, or for any actions taken in reliance on information contained herein. You are solely responsible for the investment decisions made by you and the consequences resulting therefrom. By accessing the iStockAnalyst.com site, you agree not to redistribute the information found therein.
The sector scan is based on 15-30 minutes delayed data. The Pattern scan is based on EOD data.