Yes, Fox News Really Is This Bad!
Best xkcd Ever!

A Good Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Number... Isn't It? Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports:

ETA Press Release: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report: In the week ending Nov. 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 466,000, a decrease of 35,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 501,000. The 4-week moving average was 496,500, a decrease of 16,500 from the previous week's revised average of 513,000.... The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 543,926 in the week ending Nov. 21, an increase of 68,080 from the previous week...

Economagic: Economic Chart Dispenser

In short, the seasonal adjustment factor predicts that new UI claims should rise by 103,000 in the week before Thanksgiving relative to two weeks before Thanksgiving. Because claims only went up by 68,000, the BLS thinks that is very good news for the job market--not as many people are being laid-off from construction and Christmas rush goods-producing jobs as December nears.

The worry is that not as many people are being laid off because there aren't as many people at work in construction and Christmas rush goods-producing jobs to be laid off, and that we should be at the very least cautious in interpreting one-week movements in unemployment insurance claims. Perhaps we want to argue that the labor market is improving in a sense, but we should be clear on what sense that improvement is. It is:

in a normal year new weekly unemployment insurance claims rise by about 100,000 in the month before Thanksgiving; this year they have risen by only about 50,000. So things are getting better.

I really wish I could find a real expert on this seasonal adjustment factor...

Economagic: Economic Chart Dispenser

Economagic: Economic Chart Dispenser