Remember back in December when the bears were trying to get us to focus on the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) jobless claims numbers as a cause for concern? At the time, NSA claims were a lot higher than the seasonally adjusted numbers, but we pointed out that NSA jobless claims always spike in December. We also showed that compared to prior Decembers, the NSA numbers in 2011 were at multi-year lows.
The reason we bring this up is because in today's jobless claims report, seasonally adjusted claims came in at 351K. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, however, initial jobless claims came in at 345K, or 6K lower than the seasonally adjusted number. Looking at non-seasonally adjusted claims on a historical basis shows that for the third week of February, today's reading was the lowest since 2008. Furthermore, compared to the average reading for the third week of February since 2000, today's reading was actually below average. The strange thing about today's report is that the same people who were telling us to focus on the non-seasonally adjusted numbers three months ago when they were high were silent on the subject today.
Based on both the seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted numbers, today's jobless claims report shows that employment in the United States is starting to return to a degree of normalcy. Ultimately, this is a welcome sign for Americans as a whole, a great sign for Obama, and bad news for the Republican candidates trying to knock him out of office in this November's election.
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