The BLS has announced that as a result of the Labor Day weekend, 9 states (among which the biggest one California) did not report initial claims data to the bean counters, so instead the government had to "estimate" what the data would have been: yep, estimate, what the data was in these nine states. From Bloomberg: "For the latest reporting week, nine states didn’t file claims data to the Labor Department in Washington because of the Labor Day holiday earlier this week, a department official told reporters. California and Virginia estimated their figures and the U.S. government estimated the other seven." Official data is now made up on the fly. This US economic data reporting has just entered the twilight zone. Also, when the data is officially made up, it is not that difficult to get data that is "better than expected." The full list of states is: DC, Illinois, Idaho, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Washington. California and Virginia estimated themselves.