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Labor IG – Controls Over the Release of UI Weekly Claims Report Need Improvement

U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Audit, Report Number 17-14-001-03-315, issued to the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training. Controls Over the Release of the UI Weekly Claims Report Need Improvement, (January 2, 2014)

“Within the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) is responsible for producing the UI Weekly Claims Report (Claims Report) from data collected and reported by the states. This data is used by the government and the private sector as an economic indicator to describe and predict the state of the nation’s economy. Although no federal legislation or regulation requires ETA to embargo or release the Claims Report, ETA has elected to publish the Claims Report, and because the information contained in the Claims Report has the potential to move financial markets, ETA instituted policies to protect it via an embargo to ensure that no one individual or company would be advantaged by having access to it before the general public. ETA also allows pre-release access via a press lock-up to improve the accuracy and public understanding of the data when it’s first released. However, specialized computer equipment and the advent of algorithmic trading now allow market activity to be initiated from inside government lock-ups immediately upon the lifting of the embargo.”

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