Labor Department likely to issue jobs report on Friday

Despite initial suggestions to the contrary, it now appears that the U.S. government’s jobs report for October will issue on Friday, as scheduled. Earlier, it was thought that the disruption likely to be caused by Hurricane Sandy in the Washington, D.C. area might well prevent the timely preparation of the report, and there was even speculation no report would be released until after the election.

Hurricane Sandy did disrupt the federal government in Washington. Government offices were closed on Monday and Tuesday. But a Labor Department spokesman says that his department is “working hard to ensure the timely release” of the report and that “it is our intention that Friday will be business as usual.”

I suspect that Obama wants a new report and that Romney would be happy if none issued before election day. Obama is running behind Romney on the issues of the economy and jobs. He could use some good news on the jobs front. Romney, by contrast, is content to run on the status quo.

On the other hand, the unemployment rate reflects, rather than changes, the status quo. So it seems to me that a new, slightly improved unemployment rate number would be unlikely appreciably to alter how people perceive the economic situation and the jobs picture.