New Release Date for Key Jobs Data

Posted by Kevin G. Hall on October 17, 2013 

— The information vacuum will soon be over.

The government jobs report for September that had been due out Oct. 4 has been scheduled for release next Tuesday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced late Thursday the new data on its website, which had effectively been out of business during the protracted government shutdown that ended Wednesday night.

Economists have been flying blind on two key government statistics used to gauge the nation's economic health. They've been without the jobs report_ which is actually two surveys that tell of employment and the unemployment rate_ and they've done without information about inflation.

The BLS will now release on Oct. 29 its Producer Price Index, which measures inflation felt by businesses in September. It was originally scheduled for release on Oct. 11.

Similarly, the Consumer Price Index, which measures the rise of prices felt by consumers, was scheduled for release on Oct. 16 but will now come out on Oct. 30.

Not announced, however, is whether the BLS measure of inflation for October will even be released at all. The PPI release date of Nov. 14 and the CPI release date of Nov. 15 are in question because the employees who would have been visiting stores and factories to measure the change in prices were sidelined by the shutdown. It means the sample size would have been cut in half, making the information gathered by employees now incomplete.

"They've missed a significant number of days in October for data collection," Keith Hall, the head of the statistical agency from 2008 to 2012, told McClatchy on Wednesday.

At the close of business, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which releases among other things important measures on quarterly growth in the U.S. economy, had not yet announced a revised schedule for its data releases.

"BEA is currently assessing the impact of the government shutdown on our release schedule," the agency, part of the Commerce Department, said on its website.

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