Clarence Beeks working for the BLS

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An economist from the Bureau of Labor Statistics corresponded on data related to a key US inflation gauge with major Wall Street firms like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BlackRock Inc., raising questions about equitable access to economic information.

The BLS economist answered numerous inquiries about details within the consumer price index in recent months, mostly related to computations in key categories within shelter as well as used cars, according to records requested by Bloomberg.
The latest revelation is likely to prompt a deeper look at the dissemination of economic information that has implications for how major assets trade as well as Federal Reserve policy. The BLS encourages people to ask questions and makes its staff available to engage with the public, but they strive to create equal access to information for everyone, said Emily Liddel, associate commissioner for publications and special studies at the BLS.

“Obviously this has been an embarrassment for the agency,” Liddel said. “The public puts a lot of trust in us to be fair, and our data providers put a lot of trust in us for the data to be secure. It’s our goal to repair that trust.”

The BLS economist often pointed users to relevant links on the agency’s website. But in at least one case, he shared information that wasn’t publicly available at the time, related to the calculation for the used cars index within the CPI.

Liddel said it is “still under review” whether the employee shared other nonpublic information, and that the issues appear to be isolated to this one staffer. ...

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