After taking a quick detour into pseudo-positive economic data, the BLS sends us right back into the depression, with an initial jobless claims number of 417, far higher than consensus of 405K (in fact higher than the highest number in the forecast range), and higher than last week's upwardly revised 412K. Naturally, the BLS is there to provide a justification for the spike, with 8500 jobs apparently "lost" due to the Verizon strike: "Special Factor: As a result of a labor dispute between Communications Workers of America and Verizon Communications, at least 12,500 initial claims were filed in the week ending 8/13/2011 and at least 8,500 initial claims were filed in the week ending 8/20/2011." In other news this is week 20 out of 20 with one or two exceptions of 400K+ prints. And to think that the August NFP number is due in just one week. In other news, continuing claims came below expectations of 3700K at 3641K, a number that will be revised higher as was last week's from 3702K to 3721K. The collapse in extended benefits, as the 99 week cliff claims more and more, means that 20K people fewer collected post Continuing Claims benefits, with those on EUC and extended benefits down from 5.8 million a year ago to 3.6 million: this is 1.2 million Americans that no longer can collect anything from Uncle Sam.