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.
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.
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