Skip to content
Subscriber Only

On Jobs Day, TV Reporters Can't Move a Muscle

On Jobs Day, TV Reporters Can't Move a Muscle
Photograph by Dream Pictures/Getty Images

You know how reporters go on the air precisely at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time to deliver the good/bad news on U.S. employment the first Friday of every month? There’s a story behind how that happens. I came across it today while looking into a new Department of Labor rule for the reporters who get the top-secret data early under “lockup” so they can prepare news stories.

It turns out that television reporters are allowed to get in front of their cameras at 8:28 a.m. so they’ll be ready for their live shots. That puts them in touch with their control rooms, potentially breaking the seal of confidentiality surrounding the process. Anyone who got early word of the market-moving payroll number could make a quick killing in the stock market.