Shame on You, Labor Department!
Why do I make this charge? Despite the fact that the stock market is closed, correctly, to allow people to observe Good Friday, the Labor Department is choosing to issue the most important statistic it compiles, the payroll employment report, at its regular time, 8:30 am. Friday, as if there's no holiday at all.
This market-moving number should not be issued on a day when the market can't react to it, and I have to believe that, in this modern era, the Labor Department can round up the data beforehand and issue it tomorrow morning if it wanted to.
This Good Friday issuance is a disgraceful decision when you think about it. The fact that neither the exchanges nor the Securities & Exchange Commission protests this ridiculous decision is just as outrageous. If Good Friday is important enough to close the exchanges, it is important enough to be respected by the Labor Department, and the other watchdogs should do something about it. Their silence is not golden.
To me, it is still one more reason why the non-professional investor continues to avoid stocks as a respectable asset class.
This is a good time to reflect on the fact that while virtually every institution I know is spending, upgrading and developing real-time data, the Labor Department seems to be stuck in the abacus era.
But maybe that's typical of the errant ways of this sadly performing department that seems set on trying to get more green jobs, often at the expense of all other kinds of jobs, in an economy that is stubbornly resisting hiring more of its own. This department is ideological to its core, as witnessed by its incredible unwillingness to help potential hires to get to the one area of the economy that is truly hiring, the companies involved in fossil-fuel exploration and production.
Shame on the Labor Department. Shame on the government and the exchanges for not pressuring Labor to do the right thing and speed up the payroll numbers so as not to conflict with the observation of Good Friday. Let's hope the next time the monthly payroll data fall on this holiday, the department's ready to do the right thing.