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Preview / SEPT. 1 - 7

'Beige Book,' Other Economic Reports Due

September 01, 2003|From Times Wire Services

After a long holiday weekend, investors this week will have to sift through a slew of reports to get a bead on the state of the economy.

The Institute of Supply Management will report Tuesday on the level of manufacturing activity in August. The ISM numbers are expected to show that manufacturing growth was at the second-fastest pace this year and that the services industry expanded for a fifth month, signs that the economic expansion has some pep, economists forecast.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will put out its "beige book," a report on economic conditions. Also Wednesday, the Commerce Department will issue its report on construction spending for July.

Thursday's reports include the Labor Department's revised data on productivity for the second quarter and its weekly reading of jobless claims. The ISM's non-manufacturing data on activity in the service sector also will come out Thursday.

On Friday, the Labor Department will post its August nonfarm payrolls report, which provides figures on unemployment and wages.

For unemployed Americans, that may not be much to smile about. Companies probably added 18,000 workers to payrolls in August, hardly a dent in the almost half a million jobs lost over the last six months, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before Friday's report. The labor market's stagnation has dogged President Bush.

"All the buzz on the economy is that growth is red-hot, but we just don't see it in the job market yet," said Chris Rupkey, senior financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. in New York. "It's not a full-fledged recovery until you put people back to work. We're probably within a month or two before seeing substantial job creation."

As the wheels of manufacturing turn faster in response to consumer demand and corporate spending that accelerated in the second quarter, hiring soon may follow, Rupkey said. The economy needs to add more than 150,000 jobs a month to bring down the unemployment rate, which held at 6.2% in August, economists said.

Here is a roundup of this week's key economic events:

Today:

* U.S. financial markets closed for Labor Day.

* President Bush gives Labor Day address to workers in Ohio.

Tuesday:

* Institute for Supply Management releases its survey on the manufacturing sector.

Wednesday:

* House Energy and Commerce Committee begins two days of hearings on the August blackout.

* Commerce Department releases construction spending for July.

* Federal Reserve releases "beige book," its survey of regional economic conditions.

* Treasury bill auction.

* Automakers report vehicle sales for August.

Thursday:

* Commerce Department releases factory orders for July.

* Retailers announce their sales figures for August.

Friday:

* Labor Department releases August employment report.

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