For the second straight week, unemployment claims exceeded the forecast of every economist in a Bloomberg survey. Please consider Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Rose Last Week
The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly increased last week, indicating the improvement in the labor market will take time to unfold.
Initial jobless applications increased by 24,000 to 484,000 in the week ended April 10, the highest level since Feb. 20, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. A Labor Department spokesman said the rise in claims was due more to administrative factors reflecting volatility around Easter than economic reasons.
Economists forecast claims would fall to 440,000 from a previously reported 460,000 the prior week, according to the median of 44 projections in a Bloomberg News survey.
The range of economist estimates was 415,000 to 451,000.
The reported number was 484,000.
Not one economist came within 33,000 claims.
The worst was off by 69,000.
To be fair, these estimates are not necessarily easy to game. Equally fair, every economist was off by a substantial amount. Is there a bearish economist in the group?
Easter Comes Twice A Year
Flashback April 8, 2010: According to a Bloomberg survey, economists expected unemployment claims to drop, instead claims rose by 18,000.
Economists forecast claims would fall to 435,000 from a previously reported 439,000 the prior week, according to the median of 47 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from 420,000 to 450,000.
Easter is a difficult period to adjust for seasonal factors because it’s a floating holiday that doesn’t come at the same time each year, the government analyst said. Additionally, a state holiday in California on March 31 also complicated the tabulation of the data, he said.
Last week in Weekly Unemployment Claims Rise by 18,000 to 460,000, 4-Week Moving Average at 450,250 I pondered Easter complications …
If Easter is such a complication, why wouldn’t economists factor that in to their estimates? Did they not know when Easter was?
Regardless of the reason, all 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg were too optimistic. The most pessimistic forecast was 450,000 claims, the reported number was 460,000.
Last week, 47 out of 47 economists were overly optimistic and 44 out of 44 were overly optimistic this week. Both times, Easter was to blame.
I am wondering how Easter came two weeks in a row and every economists missed it both times.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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