Divergence Between Seasonally Adjusted & Unadjusted Jobless Claims Is Seasonal & Normal

Posted on December 8, 2011

The Department of Labor reported that in the week ending December 3rd, the advance figure for weekly jobless claims was 381,000, a decline of 23,000 from the previous weeks revised figure of 404,000. The 4-week moving average is now 393,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 396,250.

Every year at this time those in the market that watch initial claims closely start grumbling about how much higher the unadjusted claims are than the seasonally adjusted numbers. I thought I laid this horse to rest last year with this article. It seems that we have short memories. Or nobody read it. Let’s go with the short memory thing.

Seasonally Adjusted vs Unadjusted Jobless Claims

Source: The Mays Report

As I wrote last year, there is a lot being made of the large jump in the number of unadjusted claims. This peak in the number of unadjusted (NSA) claims is normal and occurs annually. It will reach its annual peak the first or second reporting week of 2012 before returning to normal.

US: Initial Jobless Claims
Initial Claims 402,000 404,000 381,000
Continuing Claims 3,691,000 3,687,750 3,583,000