The Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) issues a warning to federal, state and local authorities not to disrupt the normal flow of economic data to businesses, the public and the media.
Despite the extraordinary disruptions posed by the coronavirus pandemic, accurate information about economic conditions lies at the heart of a functioning, free enterprise system. Government agencies have a responsibility to produce accurate and timely information about unemployment claims, GDP, asset prices and other economic indicators and let journalists and the public digest and interpret them.
Efforts to suppress daily jobless claims information at the state level are alarming. It is an early indication that agencies may have an implicit bias to suppress negative information which has its own risks at this perilous time. A fundamental problem with understanding the impact of coronavirus on the economy is the large element of unpredictability, and suppression of information of any kind simply accelerates uncertainty.
For the sake of a free and open society and our free enterprise system, we urge governments at all levels to provide factual data in a timely way and trust the financial press and the American people to interpret the data and make informed choices about the future of our economy.