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Factbox-U.S. Economic Data Set to Be Affected by a Gov’t Shutdown

by Stella Morgan

As the deadline for the U.S. federal government appropriations approaches on October 1, concerns are growing about the potential impact of a partial government shutdown. One significant consequence of such a shutdown would be the halting of data collection and publication by key agencies responsible for providing information about the economy.

The availability of timely and accurate economic data is crucial for businesses, investors, policymakers, and the general public to make informed decisions. However, if the government shutdown occurs, it would mean a cessation of the release of important economic indicators for the duration of the closure.

The list of upcoming economic data releases for the next two weeks provides a glimpse into the potential disruption that could be caused. Several releases are marked as “No” for publication, indicating that they would not be available during a government shutdown. These include U.S. all car and truck sales for September, construction data for August, job openings and labor turnover statistics for August, initial jobless claims for the week ending September 30, producer price index for September, consumer price index for September, real earnings for September, and federal budget statement for September.

The absence of these vital economic data points during a shutdown can have significant implications. For businesses, the lack of information on car and truck sales can hinder their ability to assess market trends and make strategic decisions. Investors rely on economic data to gauge the health of the economy and make investment choices. Policymakers use economic indicators to formulate policies and respond to economic conditions. And the general public depends on economic data to understand the state of the economy and plan their financial decisions.

It is worth noting that some data may still be available through alternative sources during a shutdown. For instance, while the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) may not release the monthly automotive sales data, a preliminary estimate from Ward’s Intelligence, one of the industry sources used by BEA, could be published. However, the absence of official government data can introduce uncertainty and undermine its credibility.

The potential disruption of data releases underscores the importance of avoiding a government shutdown. The impact on the economy, businesses, and individuals could be significant, especially at a time when the country is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and navigating an uncertain global economic landscape.

In conclusion, if the U.S. federal government experiences a partial shutdown due to the lack of appropriations, key agencies responsible for collecting and publishing data about the economy will cease releasing that information. This would deprive businesses, investors, policymakers, and the public of essential economic indicators, potentially causing disruptions and uncertainty in decision-making. It is crucial for lawmakers to find a resolution and prevent a government shutdown to ensure the availability of timely and reliable economic data.

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