WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Labor Department posted sensitive economic data on its website before Thursday's scheduled release time.
An analyst for a financial research firm saw the report on unemployment benefits shortly after 8 a.m. Eastern Thursday and sent a note to clients about it at 8:10 a.m. The official release time is 8:30 a.m.
As it turns out, the report was available to see even earlier than that.
In a statement, Labor officials said the data was placed in an automated software system and inadvertently published on the department's Employment and Training website at 5:10 p.m. Eastern Wednesday.
Thursday's report showed weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell last week by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 361,000. The report is closely guarded because it can cause swings in the financial markets.
The early release comes as the department implements changes to make the release of economic data more secure. The department provides economic data early to news organizations so they can prepare stories before the scheduled release time.
Federal criminal and civil investigators have looked
into possible leaks of economic data in the past four years, the
department said in a report released last month. The report noted that
high-speed traders can profit from having the data even a split-second
before its public release. click here to read more