Latest U.S. Report on Unemployment Claims Marred by Inaccuracy, Quirk
(Bloomberg) – A clerical error and a data collection drive brought significant distortions to the latest U.S. the report on unemployment claims, which has become more important as the coronavirus pandemic increases the labor market.
Connecticut said Thursday afternoon that it incorrectly reported unemployment claims totaling 298,680, about 10 times higher than the correct number of 29,846. The mistake has probably inflated the U.S. The Department of Labor reported national figures of 2.98 million, which exceeded the economists’ median forecast by nearly half a million.
The state figure was prominent in the report issued Thursday morning, as an anomalous because it was the highest in the nation when Connecticut is one of the smallest states and posted 36,138 claims the previous week.
Nancy Steffens, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor, said in an email that it was a “data reporting error.” A spokesman for the U.S. The Department of Labor did not have an immediate comment when asked about how the change affects the numbers at the national level.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department data on persistent claims was affected by a staggeringly unadjusted decline of 1.9 million in California – the most populous state – in the week ending May 2, or a 40% drop from the previous week. About 22.8 million continuing claims were reported by the federal government on a seasonally adjusted basis, well below the average estimate of 25.1 million in a Bloomberg study.
Economists focus on continuing claims to provide insights into how quickly the labor market can stabilize and begin to improve as states begin to open from pandemic-related shutdowns.
In many states, a person who has already filed an initial application must file continued claims each week to receive funds while remaining vacant. In California, residents register every two weeks. Other states also use this method, but in Golden State the growing unemployment and the week-cycle – plus a much larger population – are combined to create large-scale fluctuations from week to week.
Pairing the data on continuing claims from changing weeks in California shows a pattern of rising demands that is consistent with the state’s plan every two weeks of filing.
The actual number of continuing claims in California may be closer to the number of people paid in for the week ending May 2 – $ 3.1 million. – which is the four-week rolling total shown in a May 7 release from the state government. That’s higher than the figure of 2.9 million in Thursday’s Labor Department report.
California Department of Employment Development and U.S. The Labor Department did not immediately comment on requests for more details.
With state-level volatility like California, along with seasonal adjustment distortions and the expanded number of people now able to file, “makes all of this more difficult than usual to interpret,” said Andrew Hollenhorst, chief U.S. economist at Citigroup Inc. (NYSE :). “You just have to be really careful about extrapolating trends from one week to another.”
Still, it makes sense for Americans to start getting out of benefits in some states. Eg. In recent weeks, Georgia, which reopened restaurants and hairdressing salons, experienced an over 76,000 drop in claims from the previous week.
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