The Labor Department sought on Monday to quell worries that Hurricane Sandy, which has closed federal offices as it bears down on the East Coast, could delay the scheduled release of its monthly employment numbers on Friday. “The employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are working hard to ensure the timely release of employment data on Friday, Nov. 2,” Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio said in a statement. “It is our intention that Friday will be business as usual regarding the October Employment Situation report.” All federal offices in the Washington, D.C. area were closed on Monday due to the severe weather. The storm was expected to bring strong winds with gusts up to 80 miles per hour, power outages, and downed trees, as well as flooding to the D.C. metropolitan area. A concern is that the top-secret compilation of the jobs report, conducted in closed-door meetings at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is within the Labor Department, could be delayed if the economists who put it together couldn’t commute in.
I'll leave you with an important process reminder from Ed:
Just to remind everyone, the national monthly jobs reports are not collated from the states. They are compiled from two surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Establishment Survey (businesses) and the Household Survey. Those have already been conducted by this time in the month, and the data is being collated and analyzed for Friday’s report. The state-level data comes out separately and later in the month.
So the heavy lifting is already done. No excuses. For what it's worth, I expect the unemployment rate to either hold steady at 7.8 percent, or tick up one or two notches. As I wrote earlier, it looks as though Team Obama is especially concerned about the latter scenario. I guess we'll see on Friday. Maybe.