The first-time claims number comes in as … well, not so good. This is typical if not predictable. As Reuters reports:
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 4,000 more applications filed than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 340,000 last week.
But that is not the end of the story. Seems the numbers may not be entirely reliable thanks to a computer "glitch." In, of all places, California where they make – or at least design – the damned things.
Technical problems as California converted to a new computer system have distorted the claims data since September, making it difficult to get a clear read of labor market conditions.
One recalls Casey Stengel, on the ineptitude of his woeful New York Mets:
"Can't anyone here play this game?"
And, as long as we are quoting the professor, how about this one for Secretary Sebelius?
"Don't cut my throat," Stengel once said, "I may want to do that, myself, later."