The weekly jobless claims (new unemployment claims for the previous week) came out yesterday, and it was the first affirmatively good news in that report in more than seven months. Jobless claims had not improved in 7 months. Indeed, yesterday's report--despite the corrupt mainstream media--did not establish any improvement. It is only one week, and the four week average is still about the SAME as the average for all of December. Still, 429,0000 (yesterday's reported number) is a pretty good number, even if not good enough to show a healthy labor market. Now for the rest of the story, and the truth.
First, yesterday's jobless claims report finished off the proof--see last week's article--again correct in FORESIGHT) that the people of the Associated Press are corrupt liars (stil on my Sodom and Gomorrah search to find one who is not). Yep. As I told you it would last week, yesterday's report included a REVISION of the previous week's report. The previous week was revised upward to 458,000. Remember when the despicable AP LIED last week, and said that last week's reported number represented the "lowest number" in two months, and "erased" two months of increases? I told you that was a LIE, and that the 454,000 number was the SAME (statistically) as the number has been several times in the past two months, and the same (statistically) as the number was a mere two weeks before--especially when the number was subject to REVISION. Well I was proven right, and the people of the AP were proven again to be corrupt liars.
Here are the Numbers for the previous--previous to those reported this week--three weeks: 459,000 (reported first as 457,000), 475,000 (reported first as 472,000), and 458,00000 (revised from the initial 454,0000 that the AP LIED about). Notice that what happened was that the number simply returned, after a blip up to 475,0000, to the level it was two weeks before. That has happened often over the past seven months, and the attempt by the AP to HYPE this normal volatility in the weekly number was a LIE--compounded by the lie as to the statistical significance of a difference of merely a few thousand in the number--when the weekly revisions alone are often more than a few thousand. The revision to 458,000 for last week proves me right, and the people of the AP to be corrupt liars. Now, the question is whether yesterday's 429,000 number is merely another blip, like the 475,000 number two weeks ago, or whether it is the beginning of a real decline. It is not a good sign that the mainstream media repeated the AP lie of last week--in a new context--by asserting that the 429,000 number was the "best in two years". Now two years ago we were already in a mild recession, and headline into a deep one. Beyond that, however, this assertion is not really, statistically, true. In the November-December time period, the weekly number did get to 435,000. It is absurd to suggest that is statistically different from 429,0000, especially when this week's number is subject to next week's revision. Indeed, the number has often--over the past seven months--approached 440,000, which is really not SIGNIFICANTLY above 429,000.
Let us look at the 475,000 number reported two weeks ago (as revised last week). Add 475,000 and 429,000 (this week's number). You get 904,0000, or an average of 452,0000. Remember, the average for all of December was 455,000. That is why the present four-week average is about the SAME 466,000 as for all of December--NO IMPROVEMENT. When it fits their agenda, the mainstream media often report the four-week average as the "better measure" of the labor market, since the weekly numbers bounce around.
So why did I not use my usual headline--used almost every week for six months? After all, the four---week average shows NO IMPROVEMENT in seven months. But I am not a corrupt liar, like the people of the AP. I see things correctly. This week's number does not prove that Obama is succeeding, or that the labor market is "turning the corner". However, it does not really prove he is continuing to fail, either. That is because we have to wait for numbers over the next few weeks to determine the real meaning of this week's number. In fact, this week's number is suspicious on a number of grounds, including that it is "too good to be true" (such a sudden turnaround in a single week, when nothing obviously explains why the labor market should suddenly have improved last week).
The four-week average is not necessarily "right", and the one week number is ot necessarily "wrong". It is just that the weekly number bounces around--making the four-week average more reliable in seeing the real situation. But every improvement has to start SOMEWHERE. The 475,0000 upward blip of a mere two week's ago was obviously a statistical glitchrather than a real measure of a deterioration in the labor market. The 429,00 might be the same thing. But it might not be just a glitch. Time will tell. After all, 429k000 will now be included in the four-week average for some time (which is why I PREDICT that the four-week average will return to mainstream media reporting). Contrary to the AP LIE of last week, a return to 458,0000 next week would not "erase" this week's "improvement". If we started bouncing between 429,000 and 468,000, we would be better off than we have been for the past seven months (when most of the "bouncing" has been above 450,0000). It would really take a return to the 475,0000 for next week's number to "erase" this week's "good news" 420,0000 number. Of course, if the number does return to 458,000, we will have to wait another few weeks to see where we are headed. The four-week average would then still be at that 455,000 level of December, the the 475,0000 blip of two weeks ago will soon drop off of the four-week average. Then the 429,0000 will distort the average for awhile, unless it proves to be a "real" improvement instead of a glitch (like the 475,000 seems to be proving to be).
Why should we suspect that the 429,000 might be a glitch? Well, and obviously to everyone but the people of the mainstream media, it is a one week number not consistent with recent numbers. Even though you realize that every improvement has to start somewhere, you have to suspect a statistical glitch in that kind of situation. Further, you have Government Motors (otherwise known as GM).
Contrary to what the mainstream media leads you to believe--especially when it fits their agenda--the weekly jobless claims number (along with almost every other employment number) is NOT an objective, concrete number. It is "seasonally adjusted" by use of a formula. Every summer, at this time, GM shuts down its plants to "retool"--to save money on labor. Those employees file for unemployment (in what amounts to a subsidy of corporations who play this game). Well, this year GM--now Government Motors--did NOT shut down its plants. The Labor Department formula assumes--falsely--that those plants were shut down according to the seasonal pattern. That could explain ALL of the "improvement" in this week's number (especially along with any other statistical anomalies that are present). We have to wait and see. That is why one week's number, as I have told you for at least six months, does not mean much in and of itself.
But does not the fact that GM kept its plants open and running indicate an "improvement" in the economy, and in the labor market? Well, maybe. And maybe not. As stated, GM is now "Government Motors". Its decisions ae now heavily political, which--to be fair--they might be even if the Federal Government were not the major owner. This, however, does raise a problem. As with the CBO and its health care bill numbers, are politicians--and others--learning how to GAME THE SYSTEM? There are some disturbing indications that this might be so, including those constant upward revisions in the weekly jobless claims number. The good thing about a weekly number is that it is hard to keep distorting the number, without it being obvious. It is something to keep i mind, however, for October.
Another suspicious part of this week's reported numbers was a significant RISE (bad news) in continuing unemployment claims. In other words, while the weekly jobless claims number went down (improved) fairly dramatically, the total number of laypeople receiving unemployment went UP dramatically *getting worse). How can that be? Well, I have told you in the past that the number of people on unemployment is subject to so many variables, including Congressional changes in extended benefits, that it is an AMBIGUOUS number. It is hard to interpret why it is fluctuating either up or down. Still, it is a further indication that this one week of improvement in the initial jobless claims number may be a statistical glitch. It is, of course, POSSIBLE for layoffs to be improving, while people on unemployment just can't find jobs. The jobless claims number measures layoffs, and not employment. However, I would take a lot of convincing before accepting that as an "explanation" of how the total number of people on unemployment can go dramatically up, while the number of people filing new claims goes dramatically down. It is much easier to see how the total number of people on unemployment could go down (falling off the rolls for some reason, including losing their benefits), while the new claims go up.
There you have it. The truth--as much as we can know it. Yes, this week's jobless claims number was actually a good number (relatively), for a change. But it is only one week, and actual improvement is not established (and can't be fore several weeks). This week's number is NOT a continua ton of a steady decline, which would give it more credibility. However, improvement has to start somewhere, which means that you can't say--unless you are as dishonest as the AP--that this week's number should be disregarded. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, I have suspended (not "erased") my "Obama Fails" headline on the weekly jobless claims number--pending further evidence. I also did not use my parody headline: "Obama loses 429,0000 jobs last week", even though that, too, would continue to be an accurate headline (as to gross jobs). But that headline is a parody of the Obama Administrations attempt to say that they have "created or saved" so many gross jobs--as if that kind of fictional number means anything. That parody seems inappropriate when the weekly jobless claims number--for one week, anyway--is good. Let Obama have his one week in the sun. At least there is some POTENTIAL for hope in yesterday's jobless claims number. We will see. (Nope, I will not consider Obama anything other than a disaster, even if the labor market actually starts to improve, but we can hope for that miracle even as we recognize that Obama is ruining this country in many different ways).