Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont’s congressional delegation have expressed concern about the impact of the federal shutdown on the state’s economy, among other aspects of public life. But until the Bureau of Labor Statistics gets back to work, it will be hard to quantify its impact on jobs.
Data on the number of unemployment claims from the Department of Labor will not be interrupted, but the monthly estimate of unemployment rates is on hold indefinitely.
Mat Barewicz, Economic & Labor Market information chief for the state’s Department of Labor, said Tuesday that he’s not even able to access the federal models that are used to generate the unemployment rate estimates. He said no guidance or plans for catching up have been announced from the federal government.
“We may skip a month and back-fill at a later date,” Barewicz said. “The only communication we got was to stop production on Bureau of Labor Statistics products and services.”
The BLS website remains online, but a notice on the homepage warns that published data are only current to Sept. 30.
“During the shutdown period BLS will not collect data, issue reports, or respond to public inquiries,” the site reads.
New and revised data will be released when they become available, the site says. But without knowing how long the shutdown will last, Barewicz said it’s impossible to speculate how the system will be revived.
“The realm of possibilities to my understanding is unlimited at this point,” he said.
The monthly reports normally analyze data collected in the first half of the preceding month. For example, October’s report would assess September’s labor market. The shutdown’s impact, therefore, may not begin to surface in jobless rates until November at the earliest — if the service is back up and running by that time.