Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Due to the prolonged Washington shutdown, all government release dates are
certain to be postponed.
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
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
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.
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.