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Claims update





Weekly claims jumped last week, but only on a seasonally-adjusted basis. This confirms widespread suspicions that faulty seasonal adjustment factors (i.e., reality not conforming to assumptions, with the focus here being on the timing of scheduled auto industry layoffs) were behind the huge drop in claims the week before. What we are left with is a modest uptick in claims that is of the sort that happen now and then, and it probably has something to do with the fact that economic growth slowed in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving unemployment insurance continues to decline: there were 15.8% fewer people on the dole last week than there were a year ago. This could well be the more important number to focus on, since it means that there are more and more people losing their unemployment benefits and thus gaining a new-found motivation to look for and accept employment—perhaps a less-than-ideal job, but a job nonetheless. Changes on the margin like this can be good for the economy down the road.

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