Friday, October 25, 2013

"Real" initial jobless claims 335,000 ex-California computer glitches

. - by New Deal democrat

Computer issues in California have bedeviled the weekly initial jobless claims reports since the bginning of September. As I did last year with regard to Superstorm Sandy, we can arrive at a good estimate the "real" initial jobless claims have been, by comparing the unadjusted average for the other 49 states this year vs. last year in the same week, and projecting this year's "real" number by assuming that the percentage of claims in the other 49 states are the same percentage of the total this year as they were last year.

Using this method, the below list shows the seasonally adjusted weekly jobless claims number on the left, and the right is the average adjusting for the likely impact of California's computer issues:

Sep 07  294,000  318,000
Sep 14  311,000  327,000
Sep 21  307,000  313,000
Sep 28  308,000  314,000
Oct 05  373,000  329,000
Oct 12  362,000  335,000
Oct 19 350,000 ------------

[Note: Since the raw state data is published with a one week lag, we do not know yet what this week's number will be.]

Here's what happens to the 4 week moving average:

Sep 28 305,000 318,000
Oct 5 324,750 320,500
Oct 12 337,500 323,500
Oct 19 348,250 ------

October 5 and 12 were the two weeks during which federal workers affected by the government shutdown applied for unemployment insurance. In September,California's problems probably resulted in an underount of -53,000 claims by the above calculations. Close to 50,000 of those claims have been made up in the last two weeks. We might have one more week of distortion, and hopefully that will be the end.