BLS and Sequester

On March 1, 2013, President Obama ordered into effect the across-the-board spending cuts (commonly referred to as sequestration) required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, as amended. Under the order, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) must cut its current budget by more than $30 million, 5 percent of the current 2013 appropriation, by September 30, 2013. In order to help achieve these savings and protect core programs, the BLS will eliminate two programs, including Mass Layoff Statistics, and all “measuring green jobs” products. This news release is the final publication of monthly mass layoff survey data.

– Source: press release of Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 21, 2013

The above is an official admission of yet another impact of the sequester: we are going to see a diminishing degree of reliability in our statistics. We thank Talley Leger for his note on this.

In addition, there is an attack being mounted against funding the statistical agencies. Eleven Republican congressmen have cosponsored a bill to eliminate the counting of nearly everything but the required census.

Now imagine a world where there are no independent or impartial statistical agencies. And imagine a world where there is no clear method of collecting data, transparently presented, so that policy can be debated based on reliable information.

Imagine a world where we do not know the unemployment rate. Or where we do not follow data that all of us currently rely upon in our everyday lives. As it is, data may have errors and may need corrections and revisions, but it serves a purpose, and that purpose impacts the lives of 350 million people who live and work and play and grow while they reside in our nation.

Here is a single example of a critical function that is carried on in our government every day. Whether we measure employment or practice landing on aircraft carriers, our nation is being set back by this ongoing budget sequester.

Just because we do not see every impact that sequester deals us in our daily lives, doesn’t mean we are not being hurt.

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About David Kotok 42 Articles

Affiliation: Cumberland Advisors

David R. Kotok cofounded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its Chief Investment Officer since inception. He holds a B.S. in economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in organizational dynamics from The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a masters in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Kotok’s articles and financial market commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Bloomberg TV and radio, CNBC TV programs, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance and others.

Mr. Kotok currently serves as a Director and Program Chairman of the Global Interdependence Center (GIC) (, whose mission is to encourage the expansion of global dialogue and free trade in order to improve cooperation and understanding among nation states, with the goal of reducing international conflicts and improving worldwide living standards. Mr. Kotok chairs its Central Banking Series, and organized a five-continent dialogue held in Philadelphia, Paris, Zambia (Livingstone), Hanoi, Singapore, Prague, Capetown, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Rome, Milan, Tallinn, and Santiago, Chile. He has received the Global Citizen Award from GIC for his efforts.

Mr. Kotok is a member of the National Business Economics Issues Council (NBEIC), the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), serves on the Research Advisory Board of BCA Research, and is also a member of the Philadelphia Council for Business Economics (PCBE).

Mr. Kotok has served as a Commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and on the Treasury Transition Teams for New Jersey Governors Kean and Whitman. He has also served as a board member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and as Chairman of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Mr. Kotok hosts an annual Maine fishing trip, where, it is rumored, most of the nation’s important financial and economic decisions are actually made.

Visit: Cumberland Advisors

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