Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jobs -- April 9, 2015; New Applications Rise 14,000 Last Week -- Great Spin

The prediction:
Economists forecast that weekly applications increased to a seasonally adjusted 280,000, according to a survey by the data firm FactSet. That would reverse much of the previous week's sharp decline, when applications fell 20,000 to 268,000.
The number:
Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits over the past four weeks than at any time in almost 15 years, signaling underlying strength in the labor market even as hiring cooled last month. From mid-March through the seven days ended April 4, jobless claims averaged 282,250 a week, the lowest since June 2000, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. Applications over the latest week climbed by 14,000 to 281,000. The median forecast of 45 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 283,000.
The Labor Department revised the prior week’s reading to 267,000, matching the lowest since April 2000, from an initially reported 268,000.
No states were estimated last week and there was nothing unusual in the data, a Labor Department spokesman said as the report was released to the press.
This is incredibly interesting: it suggests the downturn in the energy sector is nowhere as bad as anticipated. Just one of many story lines.

However, note the spin: the lede was all about the "average" -- something I had never seen before. Of course, if the average was the lowest level seen in 15 years it should have been the lede, but hidden in the report: applications actually by 14,000 last week, which is a pretty healthy rise -- considering the gazillions in stimulus and eight years into the recovery.

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