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Economic Reports May Provide Signs of Slowing

October 30, 2000|Bloomberg News

Major economic reports set for release this week probably will show sluggish manufacturing, slower job growth and less consumer optimism--more evidence of a cooling economy, analysts said. The National Assn. of Purchasing Management's manufacturing index, coming Wednesday, will probably signal the industrial economy contracted for the third consecutive month, falling to 49.5 in October from 49.9 in September. A reading below 50 suggests the manufacturing economy is shrinking. The Labor Department's employment report, on the agenda for Friday, will probably show manufacturers cut 3,000 jobs in October as the overall economy added just 185,000 jobs. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, probably rose to 4% in October from 3.9% in September. The September rate tied a 30-year low, while the economy added 252,000 jobs that month even as manufacturing payrolls dropped 66,000.

Other economic reports to watch this week:

* Today, the Commerce Department will report on the growth of personal income and personal spending in September. They rose 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively, in August.

* Tuesday, the Conference Board will issue its consumer confidence index for October. It stood at 141.9 in September.

* Tuesday, the Commerce Department will report on sales of new single-family homes in September. They are expected to rise 0.8% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 900,000 after declining 3% during August.

* Wednesday, the Federal Reserve's regional economic outlook, known as the "beige book," will also provide more evidence as to the extent of manufacturing's malaise. The report is based on narrative reports from the Fed's 12 district banks and helps the policymakers in setting interest rate targets.

* Wednesday, the Commerce Department will report on construction spending during September. In August, it rose 1.4%.

* Thursday, the Labor Department's report on productivity growth will be released. It might show that growth cooled along with the rest of the economy, rising at a 3.5% annual rate during the third quarter after increasing at a 5.7% pace during the second.

* Thursday, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators, a gauge of economic growth over the next six to nine months, will be issued for September. The index fell 0.1% during August.

* Friday, the Commerce Department is expected to report that factory orders rose in September at a slower pace than August as demand weakened for business equipment outside of aircraft.

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