Economy Week Ahead: Fed Minutes, Trade Deficit and Employment


Jobless claims are expected to have risen to 800,000 in the week ended Jan. 2.


Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The December jobs report will be the main economic data release during a busy first week of the year, along with a look at the trade deficit on Thursday.


The health of the manufacturing sector will be in focus with the release of purchasing-managers index data from China, the eurozone, U.K. and U.S. Economists expect U.S. construction spending rose 1.1% in November, according to a Wall Street Journal poll.


A report on the manufacturing sector from the Institute for Supply Management is expected to show that it continued to expand in December, albeit at a slower pace than in November.


The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its December policy meeting, when the central bank said large-scale purchases of government debt and mortgage securities would continue “until substantial further progress has been made” toward broader employment and inflation goals.


Jobless claims are expected to have risen to 800,000 in the week ended Jan. 2, from 787,000 the previous week, as virus cases continued to surge. Economists also expect the U.S. trade deficit widened sharply in November as Americans picked up the pace of imports headed into the holiday season. The ISM’s gauge of services-sector activity will likely show it fell slightly, but remained in growth territory in December.


The December jobs report is expected to show the labor market ended the year on a weak footing, with employers adding 68,000 jobs and the unemployment rate ticking up to 6.8%. That would represent a significant cooling from the 245,000 jobs added in November, and the slowest month of job creation since the labor-market recovery began in May.

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