If the U.S. government shuts down, arguably the most important and closely watched economic statistic in the U.S. economy -- the monthly U.S. Department of Labor’s Non-Farm Payroll Report, commonly known as the jobs report -- would be delayed.
The September jobs report would be delayed, the department’s head confirmed. "All survey and other program operations will cease and the public website will not be updated," Erica Groshen, the commissioner of the DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics, said in a memorandum posted on the department's website.
If a government shutdown does not occur, the DOL will release the September jobs report on Friday, Oct. 4, at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
The U.S. Commerce Department, which releases data on the economy’s growth, such as GDP, among other data, also would not release economic data.
The aforementioned delay in the jobs report would likely affect both U.S. and global financial markets (including stocks, bonds and currencies). Institutional investors scrutinize the monthly jobs report to determine the U.S. economy’s strength, gauge which sectors are adding jobs, and evaluate the fall or rise in the unemployment rate, currently 7.3 percent.
What’s more, the monthly jobs report has taken on added importance in the financial crisis era. The Great Recession resulted in the loss of more than 10 million full-time jobs and the longest period of high unemployment (above 7 percent) since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and investors zero in on the jobs total to determine whether the economy is growing at a rate strong enough to lower unemployment.
Moreover, many economists agree that jobs total is a key factor in the Federal Reserve’s decision to maintain/reduce stimulus, or quantitative easing. In its latest meeting, the Fed maintained stimulus of $85 billion per month, due to inadequate job growth.
The U.S. economy created only 169,000 jobs in August, the latest jobs report available, and many economists agree that the Fed would like to see job growth of 200,000 per month for at least three consecutive months to be confident that the economy is strong enough to decrease monetary stimulus.
Joseph Lazzaro, U.S. Editor, served as Managing Editor of New York-based financial news web sites WallStreetEurope.com/WallStreetItalia.com, 1999-2004, and as Economics...