A tourist reads the closing notice in front of the National Air and Space… (Olivier Douliery / Abaca…)
WASHINGTON -- It's official: The Labor Department will not issue the September jobs report Friday.
In a brief statement, the agency confirmed that because of the partial government shutdown, it would not be releasing on time what is widely viewed as the single most important monthly economic indicator. The jobs report is almost always released on the first Friday of the month, and it includes statistics on unemployment and payroll changes.
There was speculation that the report could be issued as scheduled under a special exception. Data collection was conducted in the second week of September, and officials probably had completed a portion of the report before the government shutdown began Tuesday and hundreds of thousands of so-called non-essential workers were furloughed.
“Due to the lapse in funding, the Employment Situation release which provides data on employment during the month of September … will not be issued as scheduled on Friday," the statement said.
"An alternative release date has not been scheduled," it said.
Most analysts had forecast somewhat stronger job growth in September than August, when the nation added 169,000 net new jobs. The jobless rate was expected to remain at 7.3%.
Earlier Thursday, the Labor Department said that new jobless claims last week held fairly steady at near a six-year low. The report showed 308,000 people filed for initial unemployment benefits in the week ended Saturday, up slightly from the previous week's revised figure of 307,000.
These figures indicate that employer layoffs are at relatively low levels, but the number of jobless claims in next week's report could see a jump as furloughed federal workers and others out of work because of the shutdown apply for benefits.
The shutdown does not cause a lapse in payments for unemployment benefits; the Labor Department will continue providing services, such as transferring money to states and compiling the weekly claims data.
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