John Ransom

As I go through the unemployment claims numbers from this week, I'm a bit mollified that the computer glitch that prevented two states from reporting complete claims the last few weeks has finally been fixed.

Claims came in at 305,000 this week, which is a six-year low.

On September 12th claims came in at 292,000 or 294,000 for the week of September 7- depending on if you believe Bloomberg or the Dept. of Labor's numbers. But in any event either number excluded some claims that got lost due to that computer glitch.

But then on second thought, I wonder if the glitch really has been fixed and complete numbers have been reported.

Just last week California, one of the states implicated in the glitch, admitted that the problem was getting worse, according to the Sacramento Bee:

A computer problem delaying unemployment benefits for thousands of Californians has grown far wider in recent days, with an increasing number of people left unpaid and the state backing off its claim the issue might be resolved by week’s end.

And:

The problem is significant enough it affected weekly reporting of initial jobless claims by the U.S. Department of Labor. In data released Thursday, the federal government said initial claims in California decreased by 25,412 in the week ending Sept. 7, an unusually steep decline.

An estimate of economists- who, by the way, have been known to be wrong at times- called for 330,000 claims versus the 290,000ish that were reported.

There isn’t as much separating 294,000 from 305,000 as there is separating 305,000 from 330,000.

Suspicious? Perhaps.
And then there is this: GDP came in this week and the government reported that 2nd quarter GDP grew at 2.5 percent, which seems unusually strong, especially in light of the decision to delay the end of quantitative easing.

You might remember too that the government just recently revised the way it computes GDP.

Today it takes into account the value of intellectual property, like that Miley Cyrus video where she's half naked and grinding on a monkey. It also takes into account the Miley Cyrus video at the VMA awards- I don't even know what VMA stands for- where she grinds on another monkey whose name escapes me, thankfully.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.