WASHINGTON — The latest victims of the government's partial shutdown: policy wonks, politicians and TV talking heads who are losing their monthly opportunity to dissect the jobs report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The ritual unfolds every month: The jobs report comes out, and Wall Street panics or exults. Political advocates spin. And economic analysts crowd cable TV to offer us their insights.
It happens the first Friday of the month at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
Except this Friday.
The government's partial shutdown means the September jobs report is being postponed. The workers who produce it aren't deemed “essential,” which is why they're among the 800,000 federal employees being furloughed.
They aren't doctors treating wounded soldiers at military hospitals or air traffic controllers ensuring that planes take off and land safely.
Yet for a subculture of Americans whose professional lives are tied to the monthly jobs report, its absence may be disorienting.
“Economists and journalists will have some withdrawal pains,” suggests Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics and a fixture on cable TV gabfests after the jobs reports are released.
Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial and another regular television presence on the morning of the jobs reports, jokes that she won't have to get up so early Friday. Yet she'll feel the loss.
The jobs report is a “flashlight into the dense forest of global economic information,” Swonk says. “We've turned the flashlight off.”
White House Program Cuts Up to $1k off Monthly Payments! (3.05% APR)