Why the Drop in Weekly Jobless Claims Is Flawed

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When we saw that the Labor Department reported a 30,000 drop in weekly jobless claims, the initial thought was that more suspect calculations may be involved. Then the thought that perhaps things may have improved so fast at the end of September that it skewed the data higher. As it turns out, the big drop in the weekly jobless claims does in fact have a huge asterisk attached to it.

CNBC and Dow Jones have both confirmed that this latest weekly jobless claims report was missing data from one large state. Bloomberg noted that the Labor Department spokesperson said that one state accounted for most of the plunge in claims.

Last week’s unemployment rate drop from 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September drew some sharp criticism from many market pundits. It became a very political issue and accusations about the reliability and accountability were thrown out there by many outlets.

We will have to wait a week to see what the revision will be, but if it includes the data from one more large state then chances are high that the revision higher will be by more of a jump than the traditional higher revisions we see each week.

JON C. OGG

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