Economic reports on ice due to record government shutdown

By Government SpendingFOXBusiness

Mounting concerns a prolonged partial government shutdown could bring US economic growth to a halt

Moody's Capital Markets Chief Economist John Lonski on the impact of the partial government shutdown on the U.S. economy.

Upcoming economic data releases, some used by the Federal Reserve as a way to measure growth and the overall health of the economy, could be delayed as a result of the partial government shutdown.

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That includes the durable goods orders, core capital equipment orders and new home sales from December, which were originally set to be released on Friday. As the shutdown inches into its fifth week, it’s unclear when – and how – the data will eventually be released.

The Commerce Department did not respond to a request for comment.

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Policymakers at the U.S. central bank use both the new home sales and durable goods orders data. Last Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said an extended shutdown would “show up in the data pretty clearly.”

If the 30-day shutdown continues – President Trump and Democrats are currently at a standstill over funding and a U.S.-Mexico border wall – it’s possible that other economic data will be affected, too.

On Jan. 30, the fourth quarter GDP, which is used by the Fed, is set to be released. That’s followed on Jan. 31 by personal income and spending data, and on Feb. 1 by the employment report for January.

One of Trump’s key economic advisers, Kevin Hassett, also acknowledged that the U.S. economy could appear to lose jobs in January for the first time in nearly a decade as a result of the shutdown.

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That’s because about 800,000 government employees have been furloughed since the start of the shutdown. And on Jan. 10, when the household survey that’s used to calculate unemployment started, they probably said they’re not working.

“So when we see the January jobs number, it could be a big negative,” Hassett told reporters at the beginning of the month. “But it would be because of the furloughed workers, who are ultimately going to get paid.”

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