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Some Wild Seasonal Adjustment Processes At Play In Continuing Claims, Biasing Higher

  • Initial jobless claims increased to a seasonally adjusted 218k (cons 218k) in the week to Nov 25 after a slightly upward revised 211k (initial 209k).
  • Continuing claims were far more notable, rising to a seasonally adjusted 1927k (cons 1865k) in the week to Nov 18, a payrolls reference period, from 1841k (initial 1840k).
  • At face value it's an ominous figure, the highest since Nov'21 and suggestive of slower hiring.
  • However, this 86k increase in the SA figure came despite a 98k decrease in the NSA data. That’s notable as the average for the same week in ‘normal’ years (which we define as 2016-19 and 2022) was a 1k increase.
  • We’ve previously published the below chart and last week mentioned how the surprising decline in continuing claims had been helped by the most favorable adjustment (i.e. pushing claims lower) of the year. This week, the same process has seen us having to double the scale for the most unfavorable adjustment – see below.

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