US changes how economic data is released
The Labor Department said technology upgrades will allow it to exclusively release high-profile economic data directly to the public, ending the news media’s practice of transmitting economic stories the moment data is released, reports Eric Morath of The Wall Street Journal.
Morath reports, “Starting in March, the department said it would only distribute the data electronically on its website. The media currently gets an early peek at a range of reports on the economic data such as the employment report at a secure facility, so it can publish its own stories on the information via computer at the same time the economic indicators are released to the public.
“A senior Bureau of Labor Statistics official said the change is being made because upgraded technology will allow the department to handle a surge of web traffic at the moment the report is released, typically at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. Eastern time.
“‘Rather than invest in all kinds of bafflers and detection devices, it just struck us that we have the capacity now to meet the demand for data, why don’t we just make this change to eliminate all security concerns?,’ the bureau official said on a call with reporters.
“The official said the change would eliminate potential advantages media organizations and their clients may have over other members of the public, adding that the change implements a recommendation the department’s inspector general made in 2016, during the Obama administration.”
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