OK, the Department of Labour just released its
latest report on weekly unemployment insurance claims. But there’s a big “but.”

First, jobless claims plunged to 292,000, which was much lower than the 330,000 expected by economists.

According to Bloomberg, this is the lowest level since April 2006.

However, the DoL is attributing the decline to the upgrade of two computer systems.

From Bloomberg’s Jeanna Smialek:

Jobless claims in the U.S. declined last week to the lowest level since April 2006 as upgrades to computer systems in two states caused those employment agencies to report fewer applications.

No states estimated jobless claims last week, the Labour Department spokesman said as the report was released to the press. A larger state and a smaller one that retooled their computer networks still provided the Labour Department with applications counts. He also said that the decrease in filings probably didn’t signal a change in labour-market conditions.

This is one of the final economic data releases before the Federal Reserve holds its FOMC meeting next week.

“Jobless claims become especially important at times like this,” said High Frequency Economics’ Jim O’Sullivan.”While the precise relationship between claims and net employment growth varies — the pace of new hiring also matter — significant ups and downs in the trend in employment growth are invariably reflected in downs and ups in claims; that is the clear mess from our chart below.”

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