Business

The government is open, but this week's GDP report will be delayed

Posted January 28, 2019 6:40 p.m. EST

— A closely watched report on the American economy due out on Wednesday will be delayed because of the partial government shutdown.

Employees went back to work Monday, but it will take time to finish the report as several data collection agencies have been closed for more than a month.

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which publishes the gross domestic product report, has not yet said when it will come out. A separate report on personal income scheduled for Thursday will also be delayed.

The report on GDP is the broadest federal government analysis of the economy. It produces quarterly and annual measures of the growth, or weakness, of the American economy. It comes out every month, and includes updates on each quarter.

"BEA reopened on Monday and is consulting with the US Census Bureau and other data suppliers to determine the availability of the thousands of data series used to produce our economic indicators," the agency said in a post on its website.

The next GDP report will cover the fourth quarter of 2018. BEA and Census are both agencies within the Commerce Department.

During a White House press briefing Monday, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said the GDP report would be published in about a week.

The shutdown has already delayed other economic reports that are normally put out by the Census Bureau, including international trade, construction spending, and retail and new home sales.

As of Monday, it was unclear when those reports will be put out. A spokesperson for the bureau said it was working on publishing a revised schedule "as soon as possible."

The missing economic reports have created some uncertainty for investors and business leaders about the health of the economy. Farmers also missed out on a report about world markets that helps them make planting decisions for the spring season. Data for that report, which was due on January 11, will be folded into the one scheduled for February 8, a US Department of Agriculture spokesperson said.

Business leaders have not been flying totally blind. Private reports are still available and some arms of the government remained funded through the shutdown and kept churning out numbers. The monthly jobs report will be published by the US Labor Department as scheduled on Friday. The Labor Department, which has been funded by Congress through September 30, remained open during the shutdown.