Update: the BLS disclosed that it had to estimate the data for 19 states due to holiday office closures. Good enough for Ministry of Truth work.
In what is a traditional slowdown to the layoffs season in the week leading into Christmas, initial unemployment claims, dropped from an upward revised 362K (was 361K) to 350K, below a consensus print of 360K, and the lowest seasonally-adjusted number in nearly 5 years. The boost, of course, was all in the ARIMA X-12 seasonal adjustments, as the not seasonally adjusted number rose by 39K to 441K. Although in a world in which only Case-Shiller says to use its Non-Seasonally Adjusted print as a far more accurate indicator of concurrent data, nobody cares about the BLS pre-adjustment data. In fact, judging by the market response, nobody cares about BLS data anymore, period, with absolutely no response by the market following the Claims print. Perhaps the only realm, unfudged notable number was the jump in people claiming claims at the State level, which soared by 71K in the week ending December 8, to a 3.238MM total. This happened even the surge of those collecting EUCs finally ended, with just 4K new collectors of EUCs and Extended Benefits. The good news is that at least nothing is Sandy's fault, at least this week.