EMPLOYMENT COSTS Tuesday, Feb. 13, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Employment costs for civilian workers probably rose by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. That would be slightly faster than the 0.6% increase in the third quarter. For the year, labor costs would be up just 2.6%. DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Thursday, Feb. 15, 8:30 a.m.EST -- New orders for durable goods likely increased by 0.5% in both November and December, after orders fell 1.1% in October. To catch up after the government shutdown, the Commerce Dept. will combine some economic reports for November and December into one release. FACTORY INVENTORIES Thursday, Feb. 15, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Manufacturing inventories probably increased by 0.4% in November and by only 0.1% in December. Factory stock levels grew by 0.4% in October. CONSTRUCTION SPENDING Friday, Feb. 16, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Outlays for building projects probably fell 0.5% in November and were flat in December, hurt by unseasonably cold weather. That follows a large 2.7% jump in October. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Friday, Feb. 16, 9:15 a.m.EST -- Output at factories, mines, and utilities probably plunged 0.8% in January, says the MMS forecast. The blizzard caused massive plant closings, and factories have already reported a drop of 72,000 jobs. Output edged up 0.1% in December. Operating rates likely dropped to 82%, from 82.8%. BUSINESS INVENTORIES Friday, Feb. 16, 10 a.m.EST -- Inventories held at manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers were little changed in November, on top of a 0.6% gain in October, says the MMS survey. Business sales probably rose 0.5%, after falling 0.4% in October.
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