Where is the December jobs report?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics typically releases its jobs reports on the first Friday of every month, so those who follow the numbers may be wondering: Where is the December data?

(Saul Loeb/AFP-Getty) - A jobs sign on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building in D.C. (Saul Loeb/AFP-Getty) – A jobs sign on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building in D.C.

It’s coming. December is the lone exception to the first-Friday rule on the jobs-report schedule. The numbers for that month are due for release on Jan. 10, or the second Friday of this month.

The January release was delayed because of the holidays, according to BLS spokesman Gary Steinberg. “Because of the Christmas and New Year holidays and associated business closures, more time must be built into the data collection and processing schedule,” he said. “A good rule of thumb is if the first Friday of January occurs on the 1st through the 3rd, the Employment Situation release will be scheduled for the second Friday of the month.”

In short, putting out those numbers requires a lot of preparation that would be hard to finish around the holidays, when so many people are on vacation. BLS appears to have given itself a cushion.

That’s no surprise, given that “Jobs day” is a big, highly-controlled production. The reports require input from about 20 economists, as well as 15 fact checks and 15 clearance reviews, all to come up with 24 data tables.

MORE: ‘Jobs Day’: Monthly release of employment data an economic, political obsession

For what it’s worth, BLS also delayed the release of its September jobs report because of the government shutdown, which lasted 16 days and forced all but three of the agency’s employees to stop working during that period.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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Josh Hicks · January 7, 2014

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