What some people have called the most important U.S. employment report ever may not be announced as scheduled this Friday. The U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) usually reports the previous month’s unemployment rate on the first Friday of the following month.
Federal government offices in Washington D.C. are closed today and may be closed tomorrow as well. A BLS spokesman is cited in the WSJ as saying that the agency would “assess the situation when the weather emergency is over” and then announce a decision.
Other agencies that normally report data later this week, like the Census Bureau, might also face delays.
The September unemployment rate of 7.8% has been widely questioned because it was such a sharp drop from the August rate. If the October report is delayed, critics could say the administration did not want to see the revised numbers for September or a higher reading for October. Of course if the numbers aren’t revised or the October unemployment should fall the administration would want the numbers out on schedule. The BLS can’t win on this one.