The Week Ahead

PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS Tuesday, Aug. 11, 10 a.m.

Output per hour worked in the nonfarm sector likely rose at a 1% annual rate in the second quarter, down from a 2.6% advance in the first quarter. Nonfarm output posted a small gain last period, but total hours worked rose by an even slimmer amount. Unit labor costs, which fell at a 0.6% rate in the first quarter, likely grew by about 1.5% in the second.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, Aug. 12, 8:30 a.m.

Producer prices for finished goods likely rose by just 0.2% in July, the same small gain recorded in June, say economists polled by McGraw-Hill Inc.s mms International. The modest inflation rate is suggested by lower fuel costs, along with generally sluggish demand.

RETAIL SALES Thursday, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m.

Retail sales probably rose by about 0.3% in July, after a 0.5% gain in June. Warm weather boosted apparel and department-store sales last month, but car sales were lackluster.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Thursday, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m.

The mms consensus is that consumer prices rose by 0.3% in July, helped by lower gasoline prices. In June, prices also increased by 0.3%. Over the past year, consumer prices are up by 3.1%.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Friday, Aug. 14, 9:15 a.m.

Output at factories, mines, and utilities likely increased by 0.3% in July, partially reversing a 0.4% drop in June. Warmer weather increased the demand on utilities. Capacity utilization likely rose to 78.6% in July, from 78.5% in June.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES Friday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m.

Inventories at manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers probably rose 0.1% in June, the same small gain as in May, say the mms economists. Manufacturers have already reported a 0.1% drop in their stock levels, but retailers probably saw their inventories rise.

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