What Government Data Will Be Released During The Shutdown

    Today, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will wake up with the U.S. government still shut down and the Senate expected to try again to restore federal funding, if only temporarily, and work on resolving a dispute over immigration.

    As Reuters notes this morning, until Monday, most federal workers were not directly affected by the shutdown that began at midnight on Friday. Many were still awaiting notification on whether they are “essential” employees or not, which would determine whether they must report to their offices.

    Even late on Sunday, the federal Office of Personnel Management was providing little guidance. It said on its website that “federal government operations vary by agency.”

    The Department of Defense published a memo on its site detailing who does and does not get paid in a shutdown and saying that civilian employees were on temporary leave, except for those needed to support active-duty troops.

    The Department of Interior, led by Secretary Ryan Zinke, offered no guidance on its website, which still had a “Happy Holidays from the Zinke Family” video near the top of the site. The department oversees national parks and federal lands.

    The State Department website said: “At this time, scheduled passport and visa services in the United States and at our posts overseas will continue during the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits.”

    One thing that is clear, however, is that until a “funding gap” resolution is reached, all those non-essential workers who work as data compilers, goal-seekers, analysts, manipulators, fact-checkers, distributors and printers will get an extended vacation for one or more days, which means that critical government data may be indefinitely delayed.

    Which data?

    While government statistical agencies have yet to update release schedules, Bloomberg’s Scott Lanman notes that their actions during the 2013 shutdown offer a template for potential delays during this month’s shutdown.

    • In 2013, most govt-issued data were delayed until after shutdown was over; jobless claims figures were issued as normal
    • Employment report was delayed 18 days, and the following report was postponed by a week

    As as the 2018 shutdown begins, no major govt releases until Thursday; jobless claims, advance goods-trade balance and inventories; 4Q GDP due Fri.

    If shutdown drags on, could delay additional data including personal income/PCE inflation (Jan. 29), employment cost index (Jan. 31), productivity (Feb. 1), employment (Feb. 2).

    For now, most Fed releases, meetings, etc. expected to proceed as scheduled, including Chicago Fed national activity index (Mon.), and Richmond Fed manufacturing index (Tue.); FHFA home-price data would also likely be released (Wed.).

     

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