The Week Ahead

MOTOR VEHICLE SALES
      Monday, May 5 -- Vehicle sales likely fell to an annual rate of 13.3 million in 
      April, from 14.7 million in March. That's the median forecast of economists 
      surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Car buying was 
      strong in the first quarter, helped by warm weather and early tax refunds. 
      Although some auto makers will report sales earlier, all companies will not 
      have reported until this date.
      
      FACTORY INVENTORIES
      Tuesday, May 6, 10 a.m.EDT -- Manufacturers probably increased their 
      inventories by 0.4% in March, the same healthy gain recorded in February.
      
      PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS
      Wednesday, May 7, 10 a.m.EDT -- Output per hour worked in the nonfarm sector 
      probably grew at an annual rate of 2% in the first quarter, after a 1.2% 
      advance in the fourth. If so, nonfarm productivity increased 1% over the past 
      year. Last quarter's strong output gain was mostly met by an equally robust 
      growth in hours worked. As a result, unit labor costs likely increased by 0.5% 
      in the first quarter, after a 2.6% advance in the fourth. The report will also 
      include data on fourth-quarter productivity and costs in the nonfinancial 
      sector. This data, while lagging behind the total nonfarm numbers, seem to 
      better reflect the anecdotal reports on efficiency in this expansion. 
      Nonfinancial-sector productivity rose 2.2% in the year ended in the third 
      quarter.
      
      BEIGE BOOK
      Wednesday, May 7, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Federal Reserve Board will release its 
      compilation of economic activity around its 12 districts. The beige book is 
      prepared in advance of the Fed's upcoming policy meeting on May 20.
      
      INSTALLMENT CREDIT
      Wednesday, May 7, 3 p.m.EDT -- The MMS survey expects that consumers added $6 
      billion in new credit in March, only a bit less than the $6.7 billion taken on 
      in February.
      

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