An “indication of the substance” of Wednesday’s UK jobs report was leaked to 300 people ahead of publication, accoring to the Statistics Authority.
The information was shared “with up to 300 people, through a social media network ahead of the publication of the report by someone who is not approved to have pre-release access to the statistics,” according to the NA’s Director General for Regulation, Ed Humpherson.
The concerns were detailed in a letter to the Department of Work and Pensions published on Friday.
The figures had the potential to move markets.
The headline rate of those out of work fell to 5.1% for November, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Analysts expected the unemployment rate for November, which takes the average of that month and the two that preceded it, to come in at 5.2%, the same as October.
Here’s Humpherson again, emphasis ours:
The Authority is deeply concerned about the impact that breaches (and apparent breaches) relating to the unauthorised, widespread sharing of statistics before their publication may have on the trustworthiness of the UK’s official statistics system.
I would welcome your assurance that you will review — and improve where necessary — the processes relating to the handling of pre-release access within your department to ensure that such an occurrence cannot and will not happen again.
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