The Week Ahead

Your Money

January 04, 2004

A weekly briefing on the economic calendar:

Monday

Car and truck sales, released by manufacturers, measure the monthly sales of all domestically produced vehicles. They are considered an important indicator of consumer demand, accounting for roughly 25 percent of total retail sales.

Construction spending, a Census Bureau report, is broken down among residential, non-residential and public expenditures on new construction. Only trends extending over three months or more can be viewed as significant.

Tuesday

Census Bureau releases November's factory orders, which grew 2.2 percent in October. This consists of the previously announced durable goods report plus nondurable goods.

Thursday

Initial unemployment claims report, measuring the number of filings for state jobless benefits, is not as valuable as monthly data because claims are volatile week to week.

Federal Reserve issues consumer credit report for November. This measure of consumer debt rose by $900 million in October.

Census Bureau releases wholesale inventories report for November, which includes sales and inventory statistics from the second stage of the manufacturing process. It rose 0.5 percent in October.

Friday

Bureau of Labor Statistics releases unemployment report, the most important economic release of the month.

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