Published: Aug 09, 2012 2:32 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 10, 2012 6:31 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Labor Department posted sensitive economic data on its website Thursday before the scheduled release time.

An analyst for a financial research firm saw the report on unemployment benefits on the department's website shortly after 8 a.m. Eastern and sent a note to clients about it at 8:10 a.m. The official release time is 8:30 a.m.

Thursday's report showed that fewer people sought benefits last week. The report is closely guarded because it can cause swings in the financial markets.

The early release comes as the department implements changes to make the release of economic data more secure. The department provides economic data early to news organizations so they can prepare stories before the scheduled release time.

A spokesman for the Labor Department said the incident is under review.