Jobless Claims Fall, But Non-Seasonally Adjusted Claims Rise

unemployment line

It’s Thursday so you know what that means – time for initial jobless claims numbers.

The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits declined to a six-week low, showing further improvement in the labor market.

First-time jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 7,000 to 340,000 in the week ended March 2, the lowest since the period ended Jan. 19, according to data today from the Labor Department in Washington. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an increase to 355,000. The four-week average dropped to a five-year low.

If that was the end of the story we could all celebrate, but you know how it goes. As usual, the number reported last week was revised upward, and then there’s this:

However, non-seasonally-adjusted claims rose at their fastest rate of the year. Adding fuirther confusing salt to the wound, as we noted here, it seems Okun’s Law is broken, with productivity dropping at its fastest since Dec 2008, unit labor costs surging at their fastest since in 11 months - and all with GDP going nowhere and initial claims improving. (Read More)

I suppose it could be worse, but it could also be better.