When the data go away, what do the data-crunchers do?

Posted by Chris Adams on October 2, 2013 

If your daily livelihood depends on getting and analyzing government data, this has turned into a quiet week.

While congressional and administration leaders continue to discuss when and if the government's partial shutdown will end, Web sites maintained by many government agencies have gone dark, confronting users with a variation of a "gone fishin'" message.

The Census Bureau -- part of the Department of Commerce -- is host to the widely-used American Factfinder Web site that allows researchers, journalists, business leaders and citizens anywhere to drill into Census data. This week, the Census Bureau's Web site says: "Due to the lapse in government funding, census.gov sites, services, and all online survey collection requests will be unavailable until further notice."

McClatchy's Kevin G. Hall detailed today how the shutdown of statistical agencies means that monthly jobs numbers won't come out this week -- and how financial markets could suffer because of it

For journalists scrambling for a data fix, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University has detailed alternate sites hosting vital government data. Investigative Reporters & Editors, a major journalism group, has likewise detailed data available at alternate sites.  


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