Changes to Department of Labor Media Lockup Effective March 1, 2020
Dear Bureau Chiefs,
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the gold-standard of accurate, objective, relevant, timely, and accessible statistical data. BLS is charged with the security of key economic data and, as Commissioner, it is my obligation to do everything possible to protect the integrity of our data, as it is collected, analyzed, and distributed. Economic data series, including the Employment Situation, Consumer Price Index, and Producer Price Index, have significant commercial value and may affect the movement of commodity and financial markets upon release.
BLS, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Labor (DOL) have all raised concerns regarding the security of economic data stemming from news organizations’ pre-release access known as “lock-ups.”
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) report 17-14-001-03-315, dated July 14, 2014, states that the lock-up “unintentionally creates an unfair competitive advantage for certain news organizations and their clients”:
The OIG memorandum recommends that BLS and ETA:
Real-time information from government websites and releases is more accessible to the general public than ever before. However, unlike some media organizations with computer access in the current lock-up, the general public does not have up to 30 minutes before the official release time to digest the data or to take actions that may lag behind transmissions following the lock-up. Further, developments in high-speed algorithmic trading technology now give a notable competitive advantage to market participants who have even a few microseconds head start.
In light of the OIG recommendations, the following lock-up procedures will go into effect on March 1, 2020.
These updated procedures will strengthen the security of our data and offer the general public equitable and timely access. I appreciate your continued interest in the release of economic data and should you have any questions, please contact DOL Office of Public Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Mike Trupo at (202) 693-4676.
WILLIAM W. BEACH
Last Modified Date: January 16, 2020