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The Week Ahead


Business Outlook

THE WEEK AHEAD

PURCHASING MANAGERS' INDEX Monday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m.

The National Association of Purchasing Management's index for October is expected to inch up to 50%, from 49% in September, say economists surveyed by McGraw-Hill Inc.'s MMS International.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING Monday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m.

Construction spending for September is likely to post a 0.5% gain, says the MMS survey. It had fallen 0.8% in August.

LEADING INDICATORS Tuesday, Nov. 3, 8:30 a.m.

The index of leading indicators for September is expected to be unchanged, according to the economists. It had declined 0.2% in August.

PRODUCTIVITY Tuesday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m.

Output per hour in the nonfarm economy probably posted a third-quarter gain of about 1%, at an annual rate. If so, unit labor costs will rise 2%, assuming a 3% pace of wages and benefits.

FACTORY INVENTORIES Wednesday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m.

Factory inventories are likely to have risen by 0.2% in September, following a 0.5% jump in August. Stock levels had backed up excessively, but production cuts helped to rein in the September increase. New orders remain tepid.

EMPLOYMENT Friday, Nov. 6, 8:30 a.m.

Nonfarm payrolls for October are expected to rise by 20,000 workers, says the mms survey, after dropping by 57,000 in September. The economists project an uptick in the unemployment rate to 7.6% from 7.5%. If the forecast is on target, the economy will have little momentum heading into the fourth quarter, and the Fed may cut interest rates.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT Friday, Nov. 6

Consumer installment debt is projected to have dropped by about $1 billion in September, as consumers remain averse to taking on more debt.JAMES C. COOPER AND KATHLEEN MADIGAN


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