September jobs report gets pink slip amid shutdown drama

The Labor Department says it will not release the September jobs report Friday because the government remains shutdown.

"Due to the lapse in funding" the Bureau of Labor Statistics will not be issuing the report as scheduled, the department said of the delay in a statement Thursday afternoon.

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An alternative release date has not been scheduled.

As the shutdown began Tuesday, all but three of the statistical bureau's 2,400 employees were furloughed.

Without a stage, the highly anticipated monthly report that gauges the economy could create more problems.

The lack of data could further shake already unstable financial markets that are reacting to the shutdown and looming debt limit fight.

The Dow Jones dropped below 15,000 Thursday and lost nearly 137 points.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said this week that "my sense is it will be a pretty bad day and, by early next week, with no progress, the angst will build day by day mid to late next week."

The shutdown does not appear anywhere close to an end and could drag into the middle of the month and a deadline for Congress to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 17.

On Monday, Keith Hall, a former head of the BLS, suggested that his former agency should expedite the release.

But that didn't happen.

He argued that a delay would do far more damage because of the potential for leaks and increased investor frustration.

At the time he said, "there's no excuse for not doing it. It's critical data that markets really want to know."

Chad Moutray, chief economist at the National Association of Manufacturers, said his sector is primarily concerned about the amount of economic uncertainty being generated by congressional inaction.

"Anything that spooks markets and spooks consumers is in no one's best interest," he said.

Although the monthly jobs numbers don't tend to shift manufacturers short-term plans, it does give them a chance to gauge what is happening in the broader economy and validate what they are hearing from the customers.

Manufacturers are just one of many business groups that have urged Congress to "stop the constant levels of uncertainty" on fiscal matters.

They continue to urge lawmakers to deal quickly with approving at least a short-term spending measure, a debt ceiling increase and move onto bigger issues.

Those larger priorities are the passage of immigration, tax and entitlement reform, which would put the nation on a better long-term fiscal path.

In addition, Moutray said the jobs number has taken on greater significance because Federal Reserve's policy is targeting the unemployment rate as a measure as to when to taper their $85 billion in monthly monetary stimulus.

The lack of a report leaves the Fed without any September data to reference at their next policy meeting.

Zandi said that the Federal Reserve wasn't likely, regardless of the September figures, to begin tapering until early next year.

He expects that the central bank needs to see healthier job creation numbers — around 200,000 a month — before it considers a cut in bond buying.