Economic News Release

Joint statement by Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and David W. James, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Public Affairs, regarding recent early release of embargoed data

The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Public Affairs allows credentialed reporters access to Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on principal federal economic indicators under ‘lockup’ conditions a half hour in advance of their official release on an embargoed basis. Data from the November 2008 Employment Situation news report that was scheduled for release Friday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 a.m. EST were inadvertently transmitted from the lockup facility approximately 25 seconds early. A similar situation occurred Wednesday, Dec. 3, when data on Productivity and Costs were released approximately three and a half minutes early. The early transmissions affected subscribers of one wire service.

On Friday morning, Dec. 5, a wire service bureau chief informed us that his outlet had inadvertently released data from the lockup facility early to subscribers on both occasions. We have since confirmed this claim.

Rigorous, centralized procedures govern the dissemination of data from the Labor Department’s lockup facility. The early transmissions that occurred last Wednesday and Friday were accidental and followed a recent technical change in hardware configuration. This problem is being corrected, and we are taking all appropriate steps to safeguard sensitive data and prevent this from happening again. The media outlet has cooperated fully with an in-depth review of its technical set up.

Media contact:
Gary Steinberg
Press Officer
202-691-5902

Last Modified Date: December 10, 2008

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