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Economic News: What to Watch This Week

Seven important economic indicators you should view with interest


Now that we’ve gotten past last week and some important econ0mic news, we are looking ahead for this week.

There are seven key government and private sector reports I’ll be keeping an eye on, and you should place them on your agenda, as well.

They are:


Retail Sales

The Commerce Department will release this monthly report that measures the total receipts of retail stores. The changes in retail sales are followed closely and are a good indicator of broad consumer spending patterns.

Consumer Price Index

The Labor Department will release this important report for April. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the price level of a fixed market basket of goods and services purchased by consumers.

CPI is the most widely cited inflation indicator, and it is used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for government programs and is the basis of COLAs for many private labor agreements, as well. It is the benchmark inflation index and a very important report that can move the market.

Business Inventories

The Commerce Department releases its business inventories report for March that includes sales and inventory statistics from all three stages of the manufacturing process (manufacturing, wholesale and retail). The retail inventory number is an important part of this report, and it can move the market. The report also can affect the Gross Domestic Product outlook.


Housing Starts and Building Permits

The Commerce Department will release this monthly report that measures the number of residential units on which construction began in April. Building permits are permits issued in order to begin excavation. An increase in housing starts and building permits usually occurs a few months after a reduction in mortgage rates. This report is broken down by region.

Industrial Production

The Federal Reserve will release its monthly industrial production report for April that measures the physical output of the nation’s factories, mines and utilities. Manufacturing production, the largest component of the total, is derived from using the manufacturing hours worked from the employment report.


Initial Claims for Unemployment

The Labor Department produces this report that details initial jobless applications. The report provides an indicator of the direction of the economy, with increases or decreases in claims that signal slowing or accelerating job growth.

Index of Leading Economic Indicators

The Conference Board will release this monthly report for April that is a compilation of economic indicators including: jobless claims, money supply, new orders, building permits and stock prices. It is a good predictor of patterns in the economy.

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