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What U.S. Government Shutdown Means for Economic Data

Trump Insists On Border Spending As Shutdown Deadline Nears
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Economic data is becoming an increasingly noticeable casualty of the partial U.S. government shutdown. The government offices that are closed include the Commerce Department, one of the most prolific producers of reports followed by economists, businesses and investors. Delayed reports, and any long-term data distortions caused by this blackout period, will make it hard to assess the health of the world’s largest economy.

Dozens of reports each month on topics ranging from consumer spending to housing, business investment, and trade, are issued by the Commerce Department, one of the nine departments that have been closed since Dec. 22, when their funding ran out. The Labor Department, also a major producer of data such as the monthly jobs report, is open for business because Congress and President Donald Trump managed earlier to reach agreement on its 2019 appropriations.