Tale of the Two Shutdowns

Not all agency shutdowns are equal.

For example, compare the actions of the great big U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with the little bitty U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The difference between the two is the difference between an agency that practices partisan politics and one that doesn’t.

Decide for yourself which is which and which one you prefer.

The BLS Shutdown

The BLS budget for 2014 is $613.8 million.

That’s an increase of $4.7 million over 2013.

Late yesterday afternoon, 10/17/2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that the BLS Monthly Jobs Report will come out on 10/22/2013.

The crucial report was originally scheduled for release on October 4th. The shutdown that started 3 days earlier delayed the release.

The BLS was shuttered on October 1st and remained shutdown until yesterday.

Yesterday, the BLS website published a laundry list outlining the revised release dates for 24 affected BLS reports. More than half the dates haven’t been determined yet. (see above)

Since October 1st, no notices of any kind have been sent to BLS email recipients, including notification that the widely anticipated Monthly Jobs Report will be published next week.

We wouldn’t even know that if news sources like the WSJ hadn’t reported it.

The EIA Shutdown

The EIA budget for 2013 is $99.5 million.

That’s a decrease of $5.5 million from 2012.

Bright and early yesterday morning the EIA released three regularly scheduled reports:

Today in Energy – 10/17/2013
Coal News and Markets
Weekly Coal Production

Not all reports scheduled for release yesterday got out. Three were missed. The reports are concise, easy to understand and – as is always true of EIA reports – have beautifully prepared charts and graphs.

The EIA is back on schedule. No reports will be delayed.

Even in the best of times, the BLS doesn’t hold a candle to the EIA for informational reporting. The EIA’s daily “Today in Energy” is probably the most informative in the entire federal government.

The EIA did not shutdown on October 1st!! It operated normally until October 11th when it officially ran short of cash. During that time it released all scheduled reports on time, including a major Short-term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook on October 8th.

Those on the EIA email list were informed of all published reports, just as if there were no shutdown, and they were emailed that on October 11th reports would stop.

In the end the EIA missed just three and a half days of work.

The EIA website was never shutdown.


You’ll never hear the President congratulate the EIA on a job well done during trying times. No salutes to the EIA from the New York Times. Nothing will be heard from CNN.

From this day forward, though, you will hear the President lament how Republican obstructionism seriously disrupted government. The New York Times will dutifully publish Op-Eds and stories supporting the President. CNN will do their part with countless panel discussions and human interest stories of wretched low-income Americans devastated by the shutdown.

The EIA will have to settle for knowing among themselves that they didn’t shortchange taxpayers while most other federal workers lallygagged on paid vacation.

The folks at the EIA will go about doing their jobs just like always while everyone else sits around complaining about the unfairness of their circumstance and requesting bigger budgets.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Oct 18, 2013, in austerity, Budget, Business, Debt crisis, economics, Economy, Government, Jobs, journalism, news, Politics, Shutdown. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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