Dollars and Jens
Thursday, August 05, 2004
The unemployment data buoyed the U.S. dollar as traders braced for a strong U.S. July payrolls report on Friday.That's successive paragraphs. It has to occur to them that it looks odd, doesn't it?
The closely watched four-week moving average of new claims, which irons out weekly volatility, rose to 343,500 in the week ended July 31 from 336,750 in the previous week.
The lowest single-week number since around the beginning of time was four weeks ago; the uptick in the sliding average is largely a consequence of that. I use a smoothing function that doesn't have this property.
Vertical lines denote quarters — i.e. the end of December, March, and June — while horizontal lines denote multiples of 25,000 claims — i.e. 325,000, 350,000, and 375,000. It's basically been parked at 340,000 for three months, arguably five.
I don't see the decline of which they write in the paragraph after my excerpt; neither am I bracing myself for a strong jobs report tomorrow morning, but what do I know? This, I suppose: that the payroll number has a lot more noise in it than the market seems to realize, and trying to predict it with too much precision is probably a fool's mission. If a physics student of mine indicated that a value was "228,000 +/- 190,000", I'd at least warn on significant digits.