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!?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
suteibu's picture

What's the catch?

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 ?

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.

max2205's picture

Maybe the Fed should follow this step

kaiserhoff's picture

About damn time.

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

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.


VD's picture






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.

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.

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

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

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

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.

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?

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.



Cognitive Dissonance's picture

No harm, no :-)

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.

Moe Hamhead's picture

Maybe disbanding the BLS would work.

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

A Lunatic's picture

End Everything.......

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.

devo's picture

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

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.

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!!!

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.

holdbuysell's picture

Keep the eye on the ball...Bernyellen still printing 75B per high level Wall Street or gov officials have gone to jail.

Status quo continues.

FieldingMellish's picture

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

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.

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!!!

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?

Musashi Miyamoto's picture

me think minitruth doubleplusgood. BB strong.

Doubleplustrue sum:

2 + 2 = 5

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."

Colonel Klink's picture

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

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.    

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.  

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.