Economy Week Ahead: Factories, Services and Employment


The Labor Department’s monthly employment report highlights this week’s economic data.


The Institute for Supply Management’s February manufacturing index is expected to show another month of robust growth in activity at U.S. factories. The monthly survey of purchasing managers since June has captured a healthy rebound in demand for an array of goods and an improving outlook, alongside worsening supply-chain snarls and rising delivery times.


The Institute for Supply Management’s services index for February is likely to indicate that sectorwide activity expanded for the ninth consecutive month, helping reverse a sharp downturn at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic. One possible wild card for both the ISM services and manufacturing indexes: winter storms, power outages and other weather-related disruptions across much of the central U.S., which might have temporarily depressed activity.


U.S. jobless claims are expected to remain elevated in the week ended Feb. 27, an indication that layoffs remain historically high and the labor market is far from fully recovered.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a conversation on the U.S. economy at The Wall Street Journal jobs summit. Mr. Powell has repeatedly signaled that the bank won’t begin to tighten easy-money policies until it sees much more improvement across the economy.


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