Labor Department considers end to early data dissemination

Jan. 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department Office of Inspector General has recommended ending the practice of sending advanced data releases to the news media.

The office specifically calls for a halt to advanced weekly reports on the number of first-time unemployment claims, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The reports are sent to media before they go to the general public, a practice that gives news reporters time to digest complicated economic data. Those government reports are marked as "embargoed," with a time and date for when news organizations may publish their stories.

The embargoed reports are known as lockups.

Media companies that release information before it is allowed to go public are generally scratched off the list of outlets that are sent advanced reports.

Observers say that some media outlets, however, have found that data not yet released to the public can be a lucrative commodity. For a fee, the reports are sent to investors who then place market bets reflecting data they have obtained before the public release is allowed.

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