Federal Shutdown Risk Threatens Vital Economic Data Access

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Federal Shutdown Risk Threatens Vital Economic Data Access
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Access to essential economic data from key federal agencies is at risk due to the looming threat of a government shutdown. If Congress fails to fund the government by Sunday, operations may cease at agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, Commerce Department, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. This could potentially delay important reports including the monthly jobs report and Consumer Price Index.

Economists David Wilcox, Betsey Stevenson, Ben Harris, and Erica Groshen have pointed out the significant risks that such a shutdown would pose to data collection, analysis, and policy decisions. Drawing parallels with the 2013 shutdown, they emphasized the critical role of the Federal Reserve's strategy and private-sector data providers in mitigating these risks.

The economists further noted that a prolonged shutdown could disrupt the October survey and other data like industrial production. The potential shutdown could also have significant impacts on sectors such as trucking, which relies on diesel prices from the Energy Information Administration. Additionally, the Social Security Administration depends on consumer price data to finalize annual benefit increases, which could be affected by a halt in data collection.

The potential for a federal shutdown underscores the importance of timely government funding for maintaining economic stability and informed decision-making. As Sunday's deadline approaches, both policymakers and private sector stakeholders will be closely watching developments in Washington.

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