WASHINGTON Oct 1 A partial shutdown of the U.S.
government began to delay the release of data on the world's
largest economy on Tuesday, leaving policymakers and investors
in a fog.
From crop yields to unemployment figures, many of the
nation's most closely watched data will not be published during
the shutdown that began at midnight (0400 GMT).
The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which publishes data on
economic growth, shut down its website overnight and failed to
issue a report on construction spending that was supposed to be
released at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was scheduled to
publish the nation's monthly employment report for September on
Friday, said it would not issue anything until government
"During the shutdown period BLS will not collect data, issue
reports, or respond to public inquiries," the agency said.
"Updates to the site will start again when the federal
government resumes operations. Revised schedules will be issued
as they become available."
Congress failed to reach a deal overnight to fund whole
swaths of government, and federal offices began shutting down
early on Tuesday. The dearth of data will make it harder for
policymakers and investors to gauge the health of the U.S.
economy and the supply of commodities into global markets.
The monthly jobs report, which provides the nation's
unemployment rate and a gauge of hiring by employers, regularly
sets the tone for financial markets worldwide.
Without it, investors will rely more on a employment report
produced by payrolls processor ADP, which is due on Wednesday.
The ADP report has a spotty record in predicting job growth
compared to the government's more comprehensive tally.
"This is going to push the ADP report more into the
spotlight," said Mike Cullinane, head of Treasuries trading at
D.A. Davidson in St. Petersburg, Florida. "It might to be the
only employment report we are going to get this month."
The Department of Agriculture also closed its main websites
and stopped issuing data for dozens of reports that allow
investors and businesses to track crops and livestock.
Early in the morning, the department released a report on
daily grain exports that will likely be its last until the
government reopens. The United States is the world's largest
exporter of agricultural goods.
Some government data, however, will continue to flow,
including a weekly report on claims for jobless aid and, at
least for the next week or so, data on energy output and prices.
The Department of Energy's statistical agency said it will not
immediately run out of funds for its operations.
Like ADP, other privately produced economic figures will
continue to be published, such as the data issued on Tuesday by
the Institute for Supply Management that showed factory activity
picking up in September.
It is not clear how quickly the government could gear up to
produce any of the report that are being delayed, and whether a
swift end to the shutdown might still allow the monthly
employment report to come out on Friday as scheduled.