By Karl Smith
The data on initial claims for unemployment insurance can be particularly volatile in the first month of the year. In part because lots of seasonal employees are let go. Yet, the data suggests firms want to start fresh by changing employment structure at the beginning of the year – presumably both because of the symbolism of a new calendar year and because the North American holiday season is so concentrated towards the end of the calendar year.
Still it is worth point out that the large declines in New Claims put the year-over-year pace of change in the series roughly back into the channel it had occupied since early 2011.
That is roughly a decline of 40K New Claims filed versus 52 weeks.
To give an idea of what we might then expect, here are the absolute numbers from early 2012, minus 40K