Thursday, April 24, 2008

Faux-mouthed Federales

(New York) Ooh: First-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level in two months in the latest week, according to the Labor Department’s crack team of bean counters this morning.

Thus sayeth the Oracle of Washington, “initial claims fell last week by 33,000 to 342,000,” which would indicate the lowest level since the middle of February." The Wall Street crowd of economists expected claims to rise by 3,000 to 375,000.

Interestingly, the claims in the previous week were revised to show an increase of 20,000 to 375,000 compared with the initial estimate of a rise of 17,000 to 373,000. The four-week average of initial claims fell 7,250 to 369,500. This is like changing the answers on your test...or maybe turning in your book report early so you can fix it after the teacher's looked at it.

Meanwhile, those still receiving state jobless benefits fell 65,000 to 2.93 million in the week ending April 12. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose 20,500 to 2.96 million…

Just a few thoughts about this…you have to ask yourself two questions: Where are these numbers coming from, and do they reflect reality, or the way the authors would like for things to be?

The government releases these figures.
They are representative of the world as viewed through Federal Bifocals. Jobless claims tapering one week over another do not a trend make; more than likely you’re seeing the effects of jobless benefits running out for some, and they’re falling off the rolls as they are forced to find work.
Any work.
Amazing how that works out.
The Federal teat goes dry, gotta find a gig.
It's an amazing incentive.

Also—this is a one week snapshot.
Notice how they like to go back and revise numbers?
And notice, too, how the four-week average continues to trend upwards?

Again, this is the language of the Federales, and it would appear they are speaking from both sides of their mouths. Could this be a prelude to the Federal Reserve slacking off on rate cuts, priming the pump, perhaps, and getting our collective mind-set re-oriented to accept the next Federal reality?

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