Friday, June 7, 2013

Is the Jobs Number Getting Leaked?

Jared Bernstein writes:
CNBC’s intrepid Eamon Javers just tweeted this a few minutes ago.  It shows three quick burst of gold trades, all downward movements, taking place 62 milliseconds before the release of the jobs numbers at 8:30 this morning.
I’m not sure what to make of it, but it looks an awful lot like some gold traders have found a way to get the jobs number at 8:29:59:838.  The better-than-expected payroll number led them to short gold which is down 2.4% so far today.  There could be other explanations, but I can’t think of them.
Can you?

I have written before about a money manager I knew, back in the old days, who hired a reporter to get the BLS jobs numbers before they went across the wires. The way it was done back then couldn't be replicated now. I have talked to the BLS employee in charge of releasing the report and the reporters are all in a room and are not allowed use cell phones. They can't leave the room until the specific release time.

I can see only two ways to beat this now.

1. You have an insider at BLS who leaks the number to you.

2. You get someone in the release room who understands how to interpret the data. You also have someone outside, maybe on the sidewalk across the street near Union Station. As everyone rushes out of the BLS building, your insider via a pre-arranged code (thumbs up, thumbs down or something less conspicuous) signals to your man with the cell phone whether to buy or sell. He is live on the phone with a trader, You probably beat the wire services by seconds and get your order in around, sa.y 8:29:59:838. 


  1. Well, that's pretty much how Keynes made his money, right?

  2. Why do they release information early to anybody, period? Why are some people privileged, even if the procedures are 'safeguarded?' Why don't they just release it to everyone at once?

    1. Good point, Bill. They should just release it on their web site to everyone at the same time.