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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Big drop in jobless claims day before unemployment report, but Sandy still distorting data

The weekly initial jobless claims numbers have fallen back to near where they were before Superstorm Sandy, but not quite. Still, economists are warning that it is hard to figure out whether the Superstorm Sandy effect has already dissipated.

They say it might not be until the middle of next month before the jobless claims data becomes an accurate gauge again for the health of the jobs market.

The storm has affected most economic measures recently and will likely affect tomorrow morning's unemployment numbers as well, meaning that it, too, will not be an accurate gauge about where things are headed, no matter if the report is strong or weak. The difference with that report, of course, is that it will be the first since the presidential election. That means it will be a little less politicized, but those who are dead set on seeing things in a particular way - in a strictly positive or strictly negative light - will continue to digest it through that set of assumptions.

For what it is worth, Gallup is reporting an uptick in its unemployment reading. However, that survey had unemployment dropping to 7.0 percent in October, which was much different from the official reading. The reading Gallup has forecast for November is 7.8 percent. 

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