Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Labor Department announced plans Thursday to restrict the media's early access to economic data, citing security measures.
The department said it's barring journalists from taking computers into its so-called lock-ups, where credentialed members of the press are allowed to view economic reports before they're released to the public.
William Beach, the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the new rule will secure the data.
"Economic data series, including the Employment Situation, Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index, have significant commercial value and may affect the movement of commodity and financial markets upon release," he said in a letter to journalists.
He said the department decided to implement the new rule based on an Office of the Inspector General report from 2014, which said the lock-up "unintentionally creates an unfair competitive advantage for certain news organizations and their clients."
Unlike members in the media, the public doesn't have the extra 30 minutes to read economic reports before they're released and "take actions that may lag behind transmissions following the lock up," Beach wrote.
Under the new rules, credentialed press will be allowed into lock-up rooms 30 minutes before the release of reports without any electronic devices. The new procedures will go into place March 1.