U.S. Jobs Report, other economic data would be delayed by shutdown

Most data on jobs, unemployment would stop being published
By Jason Lange
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/30/2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The United States will stop publishing much of its economic data next week if the government shuts down, including the closely watched monthly employment report, officials said on Friday.

Whole swaths of the U.S. federal government could shut down next week if Congress does not approve extensions to department budgets due to expire on Monday.

All non-essential federal employees would stop working, including those at the Labour Department's Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), which is scheduled to release the monthly nonfarm payrolls report on Oct. 4.

"All survey and other program operations will cease and the public website will not be updated," said Erica Groshen, the commissioner of the BLS, in a memo published on the department's website.

The Commerce Department, which issues estimates on the pace of growth in the economy, also will stop releasing economic data, a spokesperson said.

The jobs report due on Friday would provide estimates for the nation's unemployment rate in September. It would also show how many workers were added to employer payrolls during the month.

The report sets the tone for financial markets worldwide. Policymakers and investors use it to gauge the health of the U.S. economy.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been racing to pass legislation to avert the shutdown, but time is running out, as the shutdown is set for midnight on Monday.

The BLS also publishes data on inflation and productivity. Should a shutdown occur, the next closely watched data that would be delayed would be a report on import prices, due on Oct. 10.

The Commerce Department's next scheduled economic indicator is for construction spending during August. That report is due on Tuesday.

Not all U.S. economic data would be delayed by a government shutdown, however.

A separate memo from the Labour Department said the government's weekly jobless claims reports would not be affected.

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