First Time Jobless Claims

I’ve been tracking the first-time jobless claims, and their revisions, since 1/1/11.

It sure looks like something is wrong at the Department of Labor. In the 73 weeks where we have both the reported number and the revised number, the reported number has been revised upwards 69 times. It has been revised downwards 3 times, and been unchanged once.

The last time there was a downward revision was 2/24/2011, over a year ago.

This means that, for 69 out of the last 73 weeks, the reported change has looked better than the actual change. Here’s how this works:

  1. In the weekly press release (example), the DOL compares this week’s reported number to last week’s revised number. I believe a better comparison would be this week’s reported to last week’s reported; and last week’s revised to the prior week’s revised.
  2. Revising the prior week’s number upwards reduces the apparent growth in weeks where there is a growth in first-time jobless claims; and increases the apparent drop when there is a drop. In some cases, the revision actually switches the dynamics, with a growth in reported-to-reported numbers showing as a drop in reported-to-revised.
  3. This reversal, where an increase is portrayed as a decrease, has happened 12 times in the 73-week period, and an astonishing 7 times in the 13 weeks since March 1, 2012. More than half the time since March 1, an increase has been reported as a drop in jobless claims.

The graph below shows the size of the revision by week. (The red line represents the average change.)


Now, what gets reported on the news every week is the DOL’s “headline” number: the change from last week’s revised number to this week’s reported number. This headline number has misrepresented the actual change, making the trend look better, every week since June 23, 2011.

Which means that the economy is not doing as well as is being reported, at least in first-time jobless claims.


JTMP reported address

According to the 2010 990, JTMP is located at 8416 Westmont Terrace, Bethesda.  This is also the business address of Executive Director Jeffrey R. Cohen, according to the record in Legal Helpmate.

In 2006, the property was listed by Montgomery County as residential, owned by Jeffrey Cohen, and valued north of $900,000.

The other address listed in the 990 is 8100 Beech Tree Road, Bethesda. This property is listed in the Montgomery County 2006 tax assessment as being owned by Carolyn Kimberlin et al., and was based at the time as being worth $735,170.

An item of interest now rises from the 990.  The filing reports that about $15,000 was paid for Occupancy and $7,900 for Utilities. Was this money paid to the owners of 8416 Westmont Terrace, or the owners of 8100 Beech Tree Road? Or is there some other property not specified in the 990?

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Brett Kimberlin


For those interested in looking a bit deeper into the Justice Through Music Project, the 990s for 2008-2010 can be found at Guidestar. I noticed that JTMP is not part of the Guidestar Exchange program, which program is intended for those non-profits committed to greater transparency.

The 2010 990 is interesting in Part VI where it shows that the governing body has no members. One assumes this means there is no governing body.

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