Another Casualty of the Shutdown: The Monthly Jobs Report

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics' three remaining employees weren't able to manage an on-time comprehensive jobs report this month.

Nobody knows how many jobs this country has right now because 535 elected officials — who shall remain nameless, but they usually have a “D” or an “R” appended to them — couldn’t do theirs.

Usually, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a monthly report about the national employment situation. It covers the previous month’s unemployment rate and job gains or losses by demographics and industry.

This month, that’s not happening, at least not on time. Unlike other government websites such as Census.gov, the BLS site is still online, but it’s not being updated. Because of the government shutdown, only three of the bureau’s nearly 2,400 employees are still on duty, CNNMoney says.

“Since the recession, the report has become the most closely watched indicator on the economy, with the first Friday of each month often being dubbed ‘Jobs Friday,'” CNNMoney says.

This month, we’ll have to rely on independent assessments, like one written about by USA Today:

Businesses added 166,000 jobs in September, payroll processor ADP said. Economists expected ADP to report 180,000 additional jobs, according to a consensus forecast. … Small businesses added 74,000 jobs; large companies, 64,000; and midsize ones, 28,000.

ADP doesn’t always line up with the official numbers. It has differed by an average of nearly 40,0000 jobs for the past 11 months, USA Today says. But it’s the best we have for now.

Meanwhile, for all of Congress’ talk about job creation, its various budget failures and endless dithering are actually costing jobs.

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi estimates that budget battles over the past few years have cost at least 1 million jobs already, CNNMoney says. “Businesses are more reluctant to invest and hire, and entrepreneurs are less likely to attempt startups,” Zandi told the Senate Budget Committee last week.

Congressional Budget Office estimates say the sequestration cuts that took effect earlier this year will cost 1.6 million jobs over this year and next, the Los Angeles Times says. Congress’ pay and benefits, meanwhile, go untouched.

On the bright side, you know who has hiring authority over Congress? Us.

Stacy Johnson

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