And so the BLS and DOL are back to "seasonal adjustments." Because in a week in which the Sandy effect was supposed to fade, at least on a seasonally adjusted basis, nothing could spoil the party. And sure enough, the headline number dropped from an upward revised (how else) 395,000 to 370,000, well below the expected 380,000. The real story, however, is how the DOL is doing all it can to smooth the noise, because in the week ended December 1, Not Seasonally Adjusted Initial Claims soared by 139,678 - the highest since January, to a whopping 498,619. Compare this to the SA number of 370,000, and one can see why in the aftermath of Sandy, it is quite clear that between hurricane distortions and seasonal adjustments, the headline number is completely meaningless. Confirming this was the surge in Continuing Claims, which ripped from 2,835,671 to 3,301,200, an increase in continuing claims of 465,529, or nearly half a million, in one week! But at least the pre-election boost of those collecting extended claims is over, with those on EUCs down by 110K in one week, thereby ending the extended Uncle Sam handout for over a hundred thousand Americans, who will now be forced to seek solace in disability benefits.
Seasonally Adjusted claims below:
And Unadjusted claims: