That this week's consensus "beat" of 375K initial claims will be revised to a miss next week is irrelevant - all that maters in a job election year is to fudge the numbers. Which is why the fact that "only" 372K initial claims were filed in the last week of 2011, even as thousands of bankers were being laid off, is all that matters. Of course, last week's revision was as always higher, from 381k to 387k, which means that next week, the beat of consensus will become a miss, but by then who will care - there will be another fake and soon-to-be-revised number to fixate on and push futures even higher from fair value. And confirming that it is all in the seasonal adjustment, is the observation that while SA claims improved by 15K, Not Seasonally Adjusted they increased by +37,423 hitting 535,112. In other words a 3K job difference to consensus is due to a statistical smoothing adjustment based on BLS data integrity.
Non-Seasonally adjusted claims: