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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

FACTORY INVENTORIES

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m.EST -- Manufacturers probably increased their

inventories by about 0.5% in November, bigger than the 0.3% gain added in

October. Factory output jumped in November, and some of those goods were added

to stockpiles. Factory orders probably fell slightly, after rising 0.9% in

October.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 3 p.m.EST -- Consumers probably borrowed $3.3 billion more

than they paid off in November, says the median forecast of economists surveyed

by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Sales of motor vehicles

rose modestly in November, and other retail buying increased. In October,

installment credit grew by just $2.3 billion. Concerns about the high levels of

household debt have raised questions about consumer spending in the first half

of 1997. However, the delinquency rate on credit cards fell in the third

quarter of 1996, the first decline in two years. That's a sign that debt levels

are still manageable.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Jan. 9, 8:30 a.m.EST -- The MMS survey expects that producer prices

of finished goods rose 0.2% in December, after rising energy prices led the

0.4% jump in November. Excluding food and energy, prices also likely increased

0.2%, after a 0.1% rise in November. Yearly price increases at the wholesale

level are starting to keep pace with consumer inflation, but at about 3%, both

inflation rates are modest.

EMPLOYMENT

Friday, Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m.EST -- The MMS median forecast calls for a 155,000

gain in nonfarm payrolls in December. That's higher than the 118,000 jobs added

in November. Retail jobs likely led the gains in the private sector. And after

two monthly declines, government jobs probably bounced back. The unemployment

rate likely edged back down to 5.3% in December, after rising to 5.4% in

November.


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