Media Moves

Economics reporters could have time on their hands next week

September 26, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Eric Morath of The Wall Street Journal reports that economics reporters may not have the latest unemployment statistics to report about next week if the federal government shuts down.

Morath writes, “The 1995 shutdown did result in the delayed release of reports on employment, gross domestic product and other data.

“When the threat of a shutdown loomed in 2011, it was determined that BLS reports, including the jobs data, weren’t essential and therefore wouldn’t have been produced if the government closed.

“The contingency is spelled out in the Labor Department’s agreement with media organizations, including Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., that participate in embargoed data releases known as lock-ups.

“‘In the event of a federal shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations, neither a lock-up nor Web posting should be expected to occur,’ according to the March 1, 2013 version of the agreement.

“Labor Department officials declined to immediately comment. A BLS spokeswoman said the agency is preparing for a ‘normal week.’

“The Labor Department’s policies indicate that it will handle a shutdown due to lack of appropriations differently than other times the government is closed. For example, when inclement weather shuts the agency, lock-ups are canceled but ‘every effort’ is made to release the data online.”

Read more here.

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