The Week Ahead

NONMANUFACTURING BUSINESS ACTIVITY

Monday, Jan. 6, 10 a.m. EST -- The Institute for Supply Management's December nonmanufacturing-activity index probably edged up to 58%, after jumping to 57.4% in November.

FACTORY INVENTORIES

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m. EST -- Manufacturing inventories in November most likely fell 0.2%, after holding steady in October. Inventories appear to be stabilizing, but the clouded outlook over Iraq and the economy means a restocking of inventories is unlikely early on in 2003.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 3 p.m. EST -- Consumers probably assumed another $3.9 billion of debt in November. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International. Borrowing in October grew by just $1.4 billion. Nonrevolving debt declined by $1 billion in October, as vehicle sales slowed following their torrid incentive-driven pace of the summer.

EMPLOYMENT

Friday, Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Nonfarm payrolls in December are forecast to have increased by 25,000 positions, while factories very likely reduced payrolls by another 18,000. During November, payrolls were trimmed by 40,000, with 45,000 manufacturing positions eliminated. According to MMS International, the unemployment rate probably remained unchanged, after climbing to 6% in November, and the average workweek is also expected to hold steady at 34.2 hours.

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