The Week Ahead
Due to the prolonged Washington shutdown, all government release dates are certain to be postponed. NAPM SURVEY Tuesday, Jan. 2, 10 a.m. -- The National Association of Purchasing Management's business activity index probably rose to 47.8% in December, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. That low reading suggests that the industrial sector was struggling in December. For the previous four months, the NAPM index slid below the 50% mark that signals a shrinking factory sector. The index was 46.5% in November. CONSTRUCTION SPENDING Tuesday, Jan. 2, 10 a.m. -- The MMS survey expects that construction outlays probably dropped by about 0.5% in November, after jumping 2.7% in October. Following a surge in October, spending on public-works projects likely fell back in November. NEW HOME SALES Wednesday, Jan. 3, 10 a.m. -- New single-family homes probably sold at an annual rate of 675,000 in November, little changed from the 673,000 sales rate in October, says the MMS report. Home buying has declined for three consecutive months, but lower mortgage rates in 1996 could stabilize home sales in the first quarter. FACTORY INVENTORIES Thursday, Jan. 4, 10 a.m. -- Factory inventories probably grew by about 0.3% in November, after a 0.4% gain in October. That's suggested by the small increase in factory output for the month. EMPLOYMENT Friday, Jan. 5, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS median forecast calls for a gain of 125,000 new nonfarm jobs in December, less than the 166,000 added in November. However, the survey also calls for manufacturing jobs to rise by 15,000, the first increase since August. The unemployment rate probably stood at 5.6% last month, unchanged from November's rate.
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