Weekly jobless claims fell to a 6 week low, dropping 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 374,000. It signals layoffs are easing and that’s welcome news. But an interesting bit of data shows that the better-than-expected data is courtesy of American automaker Ford (F).
In the 27th week of the year, Ford normally idles 13 of their production plants in the US for two weeks, allowing their employees to collect unemployment insurance. This causes a temporary but larger jump in the amount of claims traditionally. This year, Ford decided to only idle plants for a single week, allowing for a quicker recovery in the numbers.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims fell 3000. NSA rolling claims are improving at a rate of around 7% year over year, which is a further decline in the rate of year over year improvement. While it may appear that Ford’s need to continue cranking out cars and trucks is a positive for the US economy, the YoY change is a worrisome sign of things to come.