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Keeping the biggest secret in the U.S. economy (NPR)

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On the first Friday of every month at 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the number of jobs gained or added in the previous month. It might not sound like a big deal, but markets, economists and traders around the world wait for the report. The BLS surveys 140,000 businesses and government agencies each month to get the data for each report. That’s about as much information the BLS is allowed to divulge about what goes on behind its secured doors, including who is even on the survey list. Journalists do get the numbers a half hour early, but they cannot report them until 8:30 precisely. This often leads to a few seconds of dead-air as news anchors wait for the BLS countdown to finish.