After turning lower last week, continued unemployment claims took a turn for the worse again this week.

Initial claims remain stubbornly high but did fall under the 2 million mark for the first time in 11 weeks. 

Continuing claims took a turn for the worse and rose to 21.487 million.

Initial Claims

Eleven-Week Total

The eleven-week running total of initial claims is 42.647 million.

However, some of those workers have been called back as states have opened. Also some people submitted claims and were not really eligible.

Continuing claims, at 21.487 million, paint a better picture at this point as to what is happening.

BLS Reference Week

The reference week for the BLS Household Survey unemployment report is the week that contains the 12th of the month. It is that week's survey that determines the unemployment rate.

For the May Jobs Report coming out Friday, June 5, the reference week was May 10 through May 16.

Thus today's numbers will not impact the May jobs report out tomorrow.

Bogus Number

As noted on May 9, there was a 6.4 Million Discrepancy Between Employment and Unemployment.

The BLS is very aware they published a bogus unemployment number for April and issued this notice.

If the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to “other reasons” (over and above the number absent for other reasons in a typical April) had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been almost 5 percentage points higher than reported (on a not seasonally adjusted basis). However, according to usual practice, the data from the household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data integrity, no ad hoc actions are taken to reclassify survey responses.

Data Integrity

To maintain "data integrity" the BLS reported a number known to be bogus.

There is still more to this BLS fiddling saga.

Click on the preceding link for details about Seasonal Adjustments and an unusual statement regarding their Birth-Death model adjustments.

Tomorrow's Reported Number

The BLS will report the May unemployment rate tomorrow.

Judging from continued claims, the unemployment rate would be 14.7% as I calculated a week ago.

That is not my prediction, it is just a "what if the unemployment rate matches the claims" statement.

The consensus estimate tomorrow is for an unemployment rate of 19.8%. 

If the number is that high, the BLS will have done a far better job eliciting responses than it did last month.

My unemployment rate guess: 18.5%. We find out tomorrow.


This material is based upon information that Sitka Pacific Capital Management considers reliable and endeavors to keep current, Sitka Pacific Capital Management does not assure that this material is accurate, current or complete, and it should not be relied upon as such.

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