The last big economic indicator left to see before the election is the October jobs report, which is due on Friday. Or is it? The Department of Labor suggested this morning that the jobs report might be a little, er … delayed:
The U.S. Labor Department on Monday said it hasn’t made a decision yet on whether to delay Friday’s October jobs report, the final reading on the labor market before next week’s federal elections.
A Labor official said the agency will assess the schedule for all its data releases this week when the “weather emergency” is over.
They’re not alone, either. The Census Bureau may hold off on its scheduled economic reports until next week. Construction spending was due on Thursday and probably wouldn’t have had any impact on the election, but the report on factory orders was also scheduled for Friday, and that might have had an impact on the general opinion of the state of manufacturing.
Given that we just had a big outlier in the household survey, and even Obama’s advisers painting that as “too optimistic” as a way to lower expectations on the jobless-rate number due in four days, it seems rather convenient that these two bureaucracies might take a pass on reporting October numbers on time. The hurricane certainly will impede business, but the government is supposed to plan for such contingencies — and the absence of this data might end up looking worse than the data itself.
Update: Just to remind everyone, the national monthly jobs reports are not collated from the states. They are compiled from two surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Establishment Survey (businesses) and the Household Survey. Those have already been conducted by this time in the month, and the data is being collated and analyzed for Friday’s report. The state-level data comes out separately and later in the month.