Employment Data

Hi there. It’s frighfully hard to sit down in front of a computer screen and try and say much of anything useful after spending four or five hours on the golf course. For those of you in more frigid climes I reluctantly will report to you that it was 75 degrees in Phoenix today with not a cloud in sight. A perfect day for golf or just about anything that might have caught one’s fancy. Nevertheless, I’ll give it a go for a few posts this evening which is probably a much saner course than navigating roadways on New Years Eve.

The weekly employment numbers came out today and showed a surprising drop in one category. From the WSJ:

New claims for unemployment benefits made a surprisingly large drop last week, the largest in 16 years. Initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 94,000 to a seasonally adjusted 492,000 in the week ended Dec. 27 from an unrevised 586,000 the week before. But the number of continuing claims, those drawn by workers collecting benefits for more than one week in the week ended Dec. 20, surged by 140,000 to 4,506,000. The unemployment rate for workers with unemployment insurance rose to 3.4% from 3.3%. Below, economists react to the data.

If you go to the Journal article, actually the link is to their real estate blog you will get some good, quick interpretation of the data. Bottom line, ignore the weekly numbers and concentrate on the trend in the continuing claims number. The weekly numbers are subject to a lot of volatility and particularly around the holidays get distorted.

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