JOSHUA STEINER: JOBLESS CLAIMS: TOO MUCH DATA MISSING TO DRAW ANY CONCLUSIONS

Takeaway: The labor department's estimates show claims posting another solid week of improvement. We'll see how good they are at estimating next week.

Nineteen states were omitted from the jobless claims data this morning, including California and Texas. As such, the labor department had to estimate claim rates for those states. Needless to say, we wouldn't put too much stock in these numbers.

That said, initial jobless claims fell 11k to 350k from 361k. The prior week's number was revised up by 1k to 362k. Incorporating this upward revision, claims were lower by 12k. Rolling claims, meanwhile, fell 11.25k WoW to 357k and non-seasonally adjusted claims rose 39k to 441k. Additionally, the NSA rolling year-over-year change, which we monitor because it excludes the effects of seasonality, was -5.9%.

Claims have resumed their "normal" behavior in two respects. First, the effects of Hurricane Sandy are now fully out of the numbers, as we show in the first chart. Second, claims are generally trending lower as we would expect them to through the end of February. This will keep the wind at Financials' back, generally speaking, for the next two months. 

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Joshua Steiner, CFA

Robert Belsky

Rb