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It Zigged When It Shoulda Zagged November 16, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
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[UPDATE: Talked to Ironman over at Political Calculations, and he pointed out that this is pretty much a Black Friday effect, so I’ll stop hyperventilating. You might check out his post on Initial Unemployment Claims at his site.]

Yesterday I was puzzled by the seasonal adjustment applied to Initial Unemployment Claims data. Usually every year has the same sort of corrections, but last year’s correction was +28,984 and this year’s was -27,348. That’s 56K claims that were eliminated by the correction, which kind of seems like a lot.

So to see how unusual this is, I plotted the 2011 and 2012 corrections on top of one another. Now, because the weeks from one year don’t exactly line up with the next year, you expect to see a little difference, but the data is actually very well behaved, with the peaks and valleys lining up exactly with one another.

Until you get to this past week that is:

Seems odd. Next week we’ll see if somehow the Department of Labor prorated its adjustment to balance out the big sawtooth action you can see in the 2011 data. Otherwise I’m going to start suspecting that someone is massaging the numbers for nefarious purposes.

Should be interesting.

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