Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Thursday's initial jobless claims report will look a bit different as the Department of Labor announced it will change the methodology it uses to seasonally adjust data.

The state of play: The seasonal adjustments will switch from multiplying by a seasonal factor to adding.

What they're saying: "[I]n the presence of a large level shift in a time series, multiplicative seasonal adjustment factors can result in systematic over- or under-adjustment of the series; in such cases, additive seasonal adjustment factors are preferred since they tend to more accurately track seasonal fluctuations in the series and have smaller revisions," DOL said in a statement.

The intrigue: The Bureau of Labor Statistics had already made this change to its reports, months ago, says former BLS head Erica Groshen, but the agency tasked with releasing the unemployment data, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), had not until now.

  • "This is an example of the difference between having a statistical agency produce official economic indicators from administrative data and having an administrative agency publish aggregates that are used as economic indicators but do not have curation by national statisticians," she told Axios' Felix Salmon.
  • "BLS could and arguably should produce a weekly series of indicators based on UI Claims. Sadly, that can’t happen without funding—either through appropriations to BLS or to ETA for this purpose. So, ETA just stumbles along..."

Of note: Over the last three weeks the average for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 21% higher than the average for nonseasonally adjusted claims, notes DRW Trading rates strategist Lou Brien.

  • Last year at this time, he says, with about 1/10th as many claims, the seasonally adjusted three-week average for initial claims was 21.5% higher than the unadjusted claims.

Go deeper

Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,393,591 — Total deaths: 950,344— Total recoveries: 20,679,272Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,722,699 — Total deaths: 198,484 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.