Labor Dept. Asks Nuclear Sentinel To Review Jobs Report Release Procedure

Just how important are those jobs reports we get from the Department of Labor every month? They have the potential to rattle markets in both directions — so much so that Labor has asked the Sandia National Laboratories to review the procedures it uses to release the data.

The Sandia National Laboratories are tasked with safeguarding the nation’s nuclear weapons.

The story was first reported by CNBC late last night and today it was confirmed by the Department of Labor.

Essentially, the government is worried that if the information gets out early to a select few, it can benefit their trading position. That’s why the agency already takes extreme steps to protect that data. CNN explains:

“Journalists on hand to report the numbers are typically sequestered in holding rooms. It’s called a ‘lock up.’

“Reporters must surrender cell phones, Blackberries and any other devices capable of transmitting a signal. The devices are turned off, locked in a box, and then an agency employee sweeps the room using a hand-held machine capable of detecting any smuggled phones.

“A half hour before the official release time, the doors are locked shut, and reporters are provided with the report. They cannot make any contact with the outside world until an atomic clock signals 8:30 AM, when then frantic race to report the data gets underway.”

“For more than two decades, press lock-ups have facilitated the news media’s ability to carefully review economic data, and provide information and analysis to the public,” [Carl Fillichio, a spokesman for the Labor Department, said in a statement]. “We constantly take steps to safeguard sensitive information as part of our obligation to serve the public interest and the nation.”

The AP reports that Sandia was asked to “recommend, in light of new technologies, what steps could be taken ‘to maintain the integrity’ of the lock-up process.”

The next report, by the way, is due at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

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