The science of unemployment claims has never been more heated. The reaction to this week's report has morphed from confusion to disbelief into an email war between the State of California and Henry Blodget.
To recap: After yesterday's surprisingly strong report on unemployment claims, speculation began that one of the 50 states had not reported its numbers, artificially lowering the count. Later in the day, Blodget—citing an anonymous source at the Department of Labor—wrote on his site, Business Insider, that every state did indeed submit its claims number, but that California's was unusually low, probably because of a backlog that prevented them processing all of the claims that were actually submitted last week. Fox Business News reported the same story, but piled on with assertion that the state has "a history of reporting 'volatile' numbers" and the Labor Department has frequently complained about their inaccurate results, to no avail.
After finding out about the post, the state issued an angry rebuttal, insisting that it did submit all its claims on time while demanding a retraction from Business Insider and anyone else who reported it. Their explanation for the lower number is that ... the number of people asking for unemployment benefits was really low. In other words, California is doing just fine, thank you very much.