The Week Ahead

NAPM SURVEY Monday, June 3, 10 a.m.

The National Association of Purchasing Management's index of industrial activity probably rose to 44.1% in May, from 42.1% in April, according to economists polled by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. The expected reading would push the index to its highest level since September, 1990. However, the index would still be below the 50% mark, suggesting that the manufacturing sector is still declining.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING Monday, June 3, 10 a.m.

Building outlays likely fell by an additional 0.3% in April, say MMS economists. If so, that would be the 10th decline in 11 months. In March, construction spending dropped by 1.5%.

CAPITAL SPENDING Thursday, June 6, 8:30 a.m.

Companies have probably reduced their capital-spending plans for 1991. In a Commerce Dept. survey done in January and February, businesses expected to increase outlays for plants and equipment by 2.5%. The new report, done in April and May, will likely show a rise of 1.5%.

EMPLOYMENT Friday, June 7, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS consensus calls for a decline of about 62,000 nonfarm jobs in May. In April, 124,000 workers were laid off. A total of 1.7 million have lost their jobs since the recession's start in July. Economists also expect the unemployment rate to rise to 6.8% in May. In April, the rate dipped to 6.6%, from 6.8% in March.


Consumers probably reduced their debt loads by about $500 million in April, say the MMS economists. That's suggested by declines in new-car sales and other retail buying, as well as a drop in personal bank loans. The expected April decline would be the fifth consecutive drop in installment credit, as households try to put their finances in better shape. In March, debt fell by $931 million. Auto financing has been particularly weak.