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The Week Ahead


PURCHASING MANAGERS' INDEX

Monday, Apr. 1, 10 a.m. EST -- The Institute for Supply Management's March index of industrial activity is forecast to remain virtually unchanged at 54.5%, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. In February, the index jumped to 54.7%.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

Monday, Apr. 1, 10 a.m. EST -- Building outlays probably increased by 0.5% in February.

FACTORY INVENTORIES

Tuesday, Apr. 2, 10 a.m. EST -- Manufacturing inventories during February probably fell 0.4%. During January, inventories slipped 0.6%, the 12th consecutive monthly decline.

EMPLOYMENT

Friday, Apr. 5, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Nonfarm payrolls in March are projected to have grown by 75,000 jobs, after adding 66,000 positions in February, says the S&P MMS survey. Manufacturers, however, likely pared payrolls by an additional 25,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate probably inched back up to 5.6%, after declining to 5.5% in February. The average workweek probably increased to 34.2 hours, from 34.1 hours in February.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Friday, Apr. 5, 3 p.m. EST -- Consumers probably took on an additional $5.6 billion of debt in February. In January, consumer debt swelled by $12.9 billion, as stronger-than-expected vehicle and home sales caused nonrevolving debt to jump by $11.7 billion.


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