Yet another twist of irony brought forward by the government shutdown is the fact that the nation’s September jobs report, issued by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, won’t be revealed tomorrow because there’s no one on the job to do so. As Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities writes in The New York Times, the absence of the critical spreadsheet is “one of the more mocking symbols of the government shutdown.’” With double-digit unemployment in black and Latino communities, as well as for those under the age of 25, the monthly Employment Situation Report—as the data stream is formally known—is critical to assessing the economic health of communities of color and youth.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the jobs report. It is one of the most important pieces of economic information in the world. The jobs number is arguably the best indicator for determining the health of the economy overall. It’s what the Federal Reserve—the nation’s central bank—uses to decide how much money to pump into the economy and what Wall Street uses to figure out what to invest in and when. But due to the shutdown, it will remain stuck on the desktops those of who administer it.
Earlier today Senator Mary Landrieu, who chairs the Senate’s Small Business Committee, announced that the nearly $100 billion a year in federal government small businesses contracts are at risk. This includes the $15 billion that flows directly to black and Latino firms annually. “This is a tea party shutdown,” Landrieu emphasized.
That’s why President Obama visited the Latino-owned M. Luis Construction business in Maryland this afternoon. “The longer [the shutdown] goes on the worse it will be,” the president warned the crowd.
The daily flow of information is backing him up.