Tags: Nuclear | Guardians | Jobs | Secret

CNBC: US Asks Nuclear Guardians to Help Keep Jobs Data Secret

Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:11 AM

Wall Street trades on data, much of which comes from the government, and leaks can prove lucrative for those who get it.

So what's to prevent a worker at the Labor Department from leaking to someone the all-important monthly jobs report for a couple of dollars?

Legal issues, for one. And secondly, the country's top nuclear security guard may soon be protecting that data.

The Department of Labor has asked Sandia National Laboratories — the organization that ensures the safety of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile — to analyze and improve security measures used to keep monthly jobs report data secret until release, CNBC reports.

Separately, U.S. Energy Information Administration is working to block computers operating from certain Internet protocol addresses from accessing the administration’s website, CNBC adds.

Some users can slow down the site's release of data for others while speeding it up for themselves when market-moving data is released.

"Officials describe the moves as a new round in an ongoing battle between the government, which strives to release information in a fair and orderly way, and financial market players constantly trying to gain an informational advantage over their rivals," CNBC reports.

Being first in line is nothing new on Wall Street.

The very nature of the market relies on getting information in a fair and efficient manner.

"This cat and mouse has been around for a long time," Jane Callen, a spokeswoman in the Office of Economic Affairs at the Department of Commerce, tells the news channel.

The Commerce Department publishes data on economic indicators such as retail sales, durable goods, and gross domestic product, all of which move financial markets.

"And at each turn, the government is going to make sure they’re doing their best to ensure the right protections are in place."

The Labor Department will release its February jobs report on Friday, one of the most-watched economic indicators in the United States.

A similar jobs report put out by payroll giant ADP came out on Wednesday, which serves as a curtain raiser.

ADP's report revealed that U.S. private employers added 216,000 jobs, which exceeded expectations.

The report sent stocks climbing upon release, as investors bet the official report due Friday will come in stronger than expected, which illustrates the market's sensitivity to the speed at which indicators are released.

It also illustrates the importance of the jobs report.

"This does suggest we are moving it the right direction," says Beth Ann Bovino, senior U.S. economist at Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in New York, according to Reuters.

"It supports the expectations of another 200,000 plus in Friday's payroll report. The jobs numbers are looking healthier."

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Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:11 AM
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