I think I have an explanation for why they're constantly being surprised by 'unexpected' jobless numbers. Quite simply, it's because they continue to believe the Obama administration as it trots out the obviously inaccurate assertion that we're in a recovery, and that things are turning around and doing well. The rest of us -- who are capable of independent and intelligent thought -- can look at history, basic economics, and Obama's policies and make a pretty obvious prediction about what's going to happen. It ain't rocket science, but it does require a lot less slavish devotion to The One's baseless proclamations.
Will the Associated Press and Reuters get to use their favorite adverb for economic news today? The news from the Department of Labor will almost certainly come "unexpectedly" to the media, as initial jobless claims rose significantly despite the rosy spin put on the Census Bureau-driven employment numbers from March (via DogSoldier):
In the week ending April 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 460,000, an increase of 18,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 442,000. The 4-week moving average was 450,250, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 448,000. …
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 20 were in Alaska (7.1 percent), Puerto Rico (6.1), Oregon (6.0), Wisconsin (5.7), Montana (5.6), Idaho (5.5), Michigan (5.4), Pennsylvania (5.4), Nevada (5.3), and Rhode Island (5.2).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 27 were in Texas (+3,640), Oregon (+2,412), New Jersey (+1,715), California (+1,275), and Kentucky (+926), while the largest decreases were in Michigan (-2,240), Illinois (-1,872), Oklahoma (-1,270), Missouri (-1,079), and North Carolina (-673).
On the other hand, the news improved for one sector:
Initial claims for UI benefits by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,187 in the week ending March 27, a decrease of 76 from the prior week. There were 2,311 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 106 from the preceding week.
There were 21,025 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending March 20, a decrease of 1,776 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 36,877, an increase of 706 from the prior week.
The federal government grows while the private sector shrinks. There are a lot of adverbs and adjectives that can be used to describe that trend, but "unexpectedly" isn't among them in this adminstration and with this Congress.
Update: Like clockwork, AP uses its favorite adverb:
Initial jobless claims increase unexpectedly
New claims for jobless benefits increase unexpectedly, while total benefit rolls drop
Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer, On Thursday April 8, 2010, 9:09 am
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits rose last week, a sign that jobs remain scarce even as the economy recovers.
The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims increased by 18,000 in the week ending April 3, to a seasonally adjusted 460,000. That's worse than economists' estimates of a drop to 435,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
There's my two cents.