Was Bill Dudley Given Today's NFP Number In Advance?
Yesterday when we speculated that Kocherlakota may have been leaked the NFP number based on his hawkish tone, we presented an attempt at refutation by Morgan Stanley's David Greenlaw who claimed the following: "I've heard some stories that Kocherlakota has seen tomorrow's employment report and that explains his hawkishness comments. However, there is no way this is true. Only the Fed Chairman gets the report ahead of time (late in afternoon on the day prior to release) and he doesn't even share it with the other governors -- never mind the regional bank Presidents." Let's do a little math exercise. Today at 8:30 am the BLS came out with a step change in the unemployment rate which dropped from 8.9% to 8.8%. So far so good. Then at 10:00 am Dudley released his speech from embargo with the following disclosure: "unemployment rate has fallen sharply over the past four months, dropping to 8.8 percent from 9.8 percent in November." Obviously Dudley was aware of the NFP number at the time of writing the speech. So our question is: did Dudley write the speech in the 1:30 hours between the NFP release (presumably while in Puerto Rico)? Or did he simply leave the unemployment data blank until the last moment and just filled it in after the official number was released? Since an embargoed version of the speech was likely released to various news outlets in advance, that cuts the time he had to pencil in the correction. Or, of course, if the embargoed version went out before 8:30 am that confirms that Dudley was well aware of the NFP number ahead of time, and roundly refutes the "fact" that only Bernanke sees the jobs number before its public release. Which then brings the question: who else sees the NFP number in addition to Bernanke? And just how profitable is the industry of distributing forward looking economic data at time of embargo distribution, especially when it pertains to something as critical as the NFP number.
Alas we are rather confident these questions will remain within the domain of the rhetorical, where they belong.
h/t to Bruce Krasting who pointed out this peculiar discrepancy
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