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Government Set To End Data Lockups; Removes "Unintentional & Unfair Advantage"

Tyler Durden's picture


All it took was a year or two of extremely obvious "catches" of leaked data for the government to begin to decide that perhaps, just perhaps, it is time to end the press lockup for each week's initial jobless claims data. As the WSJ reports, the original idea behind lockups was to give reporters time to digest complicated economic reports to produce accurate reports for the public. In the past decade, news organizations have also built expensive networks to send government data to high-speed investors who can make trades on the data before members of the public can react. Now, however, the BLS believes, "government data is for the public good and it is paid for by taxpayer dollars. There must be a commitment to a level playing field."


Via WSJ,

A Labor Department panel has called for abandoning media lockups for a key weekly measure of U.S. employment.


The recommendation is the first formal call by a government entity to end media lockups and could hasten a move away from the government's decades-old practice of releasing sensitive economic data through the media.


A lockup is the term used for the traditional way in which government agencies release market-moving data to the public. In a lockup, reporters are given embargoed copies of the reports and are "locked" in media rooms, without the ability to send their stories to the public until the embargo is lifted.



Following the release of the Inspector General's report examining problems with the release, however...

the Labor Department said in a statement: "We agree with the [Inspector General] that it is appropriate to consider ending the [unemployment insurance] weekly claims press lockup."


It continued: "In fact, well before the release of the [Inspector General's] report, the department began exploring the value of the press lockup...and intends to continue its consideration of how best to disseminate the report to the public and to news organizations."



Of course, even if the end-users hadn;t been so obvious, you would have changed the plan? Hmm...

The new report could provide new momentum to that effort, though political pressure and technological barriers remain. Any move to end lockups will face lobbying pressure from news organizations that benefit from the current system because they control the dissemination of the government's economic data.




Nonetheless, the recommendation from the Labor Department's Office of inspector General represents the most significant step to date toward scrapping the current system of media lockups.


Keith Hall, a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said "government data is for the public good and it is paid for by taxpayer dollars. There must be a commitment to a level playing field."


The Inspector General made six recommendations to improve the release of the weekly report to eliminate the "competitive advantages provided to news organizations inside the lockup," according to the report.


"Absent a viable solution," the report suggested that the department "consider discontinuing the use of the press lockup."

Ya think!?

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Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:52 | 4295368 suteibu
suteibu's picture

What's the catch?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:58 | 4295382 Stackers
Stackers's picture

There must be a commitment to a level playing field


So I guess the NYSE is going to setup public access co-located trading terminals in their sub-basements for anyone and eveyone to walk in and trade on next right ?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:02 | 4295391 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

"There must be a commitment to a level playing field"

If that were true it would be Congress out, NFL Refs in.  Funny how the people are much more demanding of a fair football game.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:10 | 4295408 max2205
max2205's picture

Maybe the Fed should follow this step

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:20 | 4295422 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

About damn time.

As Granny always said, If you keep feeding stray cats...

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:25 | 4295437 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Should do wonders inflating the value of having the information DAYS earlier from direct inside contacts or via Senators, Governors and other politicians who get it early so they can "harmonize" their messaging with the latest data well in advance.

I'm shocked they're even bothering.  The media outlets are going to be PISSED.  "Haven't we been good boys and girls carrying your water for you??" is what they're probably wondering.


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:01 | 4295383 VD
VD's picture






Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:54 | 4295372 barliman
barliman's picture


With SO many people paying to have the "news" early it had become literally worthless ...

... at this rate the BLS may have to hire people who know how to do statistical modeling and analysis.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:04 | 4295387 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So does this mean we will all have equal access to the BLS lies?

Yeah! Score one for "We the People".....I think.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:15 | 4295416 PLira
PLira's picture

No my diligent friend, what it means is that those who play ball with the administration will recieve the info previoulsy as before as to those that refuse to play ball with the administration (cough-Fox News) will get it when they get it.

Always look away from what is published unto that which is occurring.

These people are genius at evil, the Chicago way.

IMHO, of course and YMMV

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:21 | 4295421 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I thought my sarcasm was obvious. Or at least as obvious as the BLS lies.  :-)

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:30 | 4295442 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

As you know better than most of us CD, the truth is a subtle thing. 

The Bureau of Making Shit Up is a wonderful summery.

PS.  Never properly thanked you for this, but many moons ago, you explained to a few newbies, me among them, how easy it is to be misunderstood in the blogosphere.  There may be no cure for that, but it helped to be aware.  Many thanks.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:04 | 4295549 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

Summery ... yeah .. wintery too.

Not like it matters.

  • 'Good' statistics released: 
    • Stocks go up;
    • Gold and Silver go down.
  • 'Bad' statistics released:
    • Stocks go up;
    • Gold and Sillver go down.

To repeat a popular line from 2013: at this point, what difference does it make?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:31 | 4295457 PLira
PLira's picture

Ahh, good sir, my fault. No harm meant, just missed the /sarc

Drinkin some and shouldn't post when hittin the scotch. lol Apologies

Your views are always appreciated.



Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:09 | 4295554 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

No harm, no fowl....er...foul. :-)

I try to take with a grain of salt anything I may think is criticism. After four years here on ZH I have made every mistake in the book when it comes to determining commentators intentions. So I just try and smile my way through the comment section. In most cases someone missed something I said, just like I do all the time with others.

Without seeing the other persons' body language and hearing their tone of voice we are all missing 90% of what is being conveyed. So I try not to be triggered by what other people write because I am most likely wrong wrong wrong in my interpretation.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:01 | 4295388 Moe Hamhead
Moe Hamhead's picture

Maybe disbanding the BLS would work.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:04 | 4295396 vincent
vincent's picture

So, the criminality has reached the level where even some sheep understand they're getting played?

Well done dotgov. Thanks for looking out for the little people.

Now fuck off

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:08 | 4295404 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

End Everything.......

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:08 | 4295405 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

Translation:  BLS is tired of the press getting the kickbacks from the high speed investors, so the BLS is breaking that connection.  Instead, the BLS will set up its own 'pre-release leaking system' directly to the high speed investors so that kickbacks come directly to BLS managers and employees instead.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:18 | 4295420 devo
devo's picture

Translation: people are catching on due to the internet. Spew populist rhetoric/damage control.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:18 | 4295425 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

When finally there is a critical mass of the pathologically self-absorbed in places of influence and control, left unchecked, the trajectory is fixed.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:25 | 4295446 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"Now, however, the BLS believes, "government data is for the public good and it is paid for by taxpayer dollars. There must be a commitment to a level playing field."

Fucking progs...ROTFL!!!

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:34 | 4295470 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

I often trade on what is offered at the public trough.

Great contrary indicator..., but never as good as what the Squid does to its clients.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:36 | 4295469 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

Keep the eye on the ball...Bernyellen still printing 75B per month...no high level Wall Street or gov officials have gone to jail.

Status quo continues.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:42 | 4295480 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

Nothing is as it seems. Something else is going on. Nobody gives up power that easy.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:20 | 4295595 Seer
Seer's picture

Yup, always trust your nose!

I make the comment below as to what's up: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-02/government-set-end-data-lockups...


Fri, 01/03/2014 - 03:01 | 4295828 dunce
dunce's picture

The "unfair advantage" was "intentional". The change was prompted by the internet with sites like zero hedge publicly complaining about the unfairness and the inability to logically defend the practice. Politicians from both sides of the aisle must have profited from the practice for it to persist for so long.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:42 | 4295488 discopimp
discopimp's picture

In other words, we are not going to perscute those who used data before it was to be relased, so we will just make the data avaialbe to everyone at the same time (yah sure) and wella no investigation!!!

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:46 | 4295503 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Why have the press as the middle man scalping a little off the top when .gov "workers" can get the kickback themselves?

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:03 | 4295541 Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto's picture

me think minitruth doubleplusgood. BB strong.

Doubleplustrue sum:

2 + 2 = 5

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:22 | 4295592 Seer
Seer's picture

I think I know how this all (re)works...

Rather than the BLS managing the early dissemination to the ruling class it'll be the NSA.  NSA catches the keystrokes and is able to transmit before the BLS hits "send."

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 02:02 | 4295757 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

I wouldn't trust ANYTHING that government said they were doing in OUR favor.  Period!

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 06:59 | 4295943 PowerPlayer
PowerPlayer's picture

The government wants to cut out the media?  Sounds like most communists countries.  I guess we'll just get all of our news directly from the government so they can tell us what to think.  I guess the folks in the Department of Labor aren't happy with the media questioning the accuracy of the job reports.    

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 07:10 | 4295955 Barry McBear
Barry McBear's picture

There will be a number of small news organizations that will fold because of this.  They were just a front for HFT to gain access to the lockups.  

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 12:50 | 4296757 GreatUncle
GreatUncle's picture

So many twists on this.

Could it be they can't sell the data anymore because the MSM goes to print on what it knows is the story already?

/SARC All good every time!

Or the current restrictive practice of the flow of data is falling on deaf ears with reality being very different so they go for the "Bernanke put" with data now?

When a crazed politician, with the statistics in one hand places a megaphone next to your ear to whispers to you how good things really are WILL REVEAL THE DESPERATION OF THOSE WHO CRAVE POWER AND FEAR LOSING IT.


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