Key economic data for the week of Sept. 17

September 16, 2012

After the big Federal Reserve announcement Thursday, this week will be a quiet one by comparison for economic news.

Last week, the Fed said it would ramp up its purchases of financial assets, buying $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities each month until the end of the year. What’s more, the Fed said it would continue to buy up assets thereafter if the labor market doesn’t strengthen sufficiently.

That means that market observers will no longer be looking for signs of further policy moves by the central bank. The Fed has already laid out the course of action that it will follow for the foreseeable future.

Still, there’s a handful of economic news this week — particularly on housing — that should provide a sense of how the recovery is coming along.

Monday

At 8:30 a.m., the Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for September. Analysts expect the report to show a slight improvement over August, though still a negative reading.

Tuesday

At 8:30 a.m., the Commerce Department releases the current account figure for the second quarter of 2012, with a forecast of a slightly smaller deficit than the first quarter.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Homebuilders releases its home price index survey for September.

Wednesday

Two big bits of housing data come out in the morning. Analysts expect that August housing starts will be around 765,000, up from 746,000 in July.

And, at 10:00 a.m., the National Association of Realtors releases its existing home sales numbers for August. The forecast is for a healthy improvement over the previous month, with levels around 4.56 million.

Thursday

At 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department releases data on initial jobless claims, which ticked up last week after Hurricane Isaac.

At 10 a.m., the Philadelphia Fed releases its manufacturing survey for September, which is expected to be negative but an improvement over an extremely weak number in July.

Brad Plumer

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