Key economic events for the week of Aug. 12

August 11, 2013

This week, expect updates on retail sales and the housing market. Last week was a relatively quiet one for economic data, as the August lull set in.


First up, the National Federation of Independent Business will release its small-business optimism index at 7:30 a.m. Hiring at small businesses has been slow this summer, but that hasn’t significantly damped optimism. The July index is expected to rise to 94.5, from 93.5 in June, pointing to a high level of confidence among small-business owners.

Retail sales for July will be out at 8:30 a.m. Sales have been weaker than expected in recent months as American consumers have been cautious about spending. Analysts forecast an increase of 0.3 percent in sales, barely changed from June, when sales rose 0.4 percent.

The import price index for July is to be released at 8:30 a.m. Prices are expected to increase by 0.8 percent, after a decrease of 0.2 percent in June.

July business inventories, out at 10 a.m., are forecast to rise 0.2 percent. They were up 0.1 percent in June.

Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, is scheduled to speak about the country’s economic outlook in his city at 12:45 p.m.


The producer price index for July is expected to rise by 0.3 percent, following an increase of 0.8 percent in June. The index is forecast to be 2.4 percent higher than a year ago.

This afternoon, James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is scheduled to speak in Paducah, Ky., about monetary policy.


The consumer price index for July will be released at 8:30 a.m. This index — which is closely tracked as a measure of inflation — is forecast to rise 0.2 percent, after an increase of 0.5 percent in June.

Weekly jobless claims are expected to decrease to 330,000, from 333,000 last week.

Industrial production for July is expected to rise 0.3 percent, posting the same level of increase as June.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Home Builders will release its housing market index for August. The index — which represents builders’ outlook on the economy — is expected to stay unchanged from last month, at 57.

The Commerce Department will release online retail sales figures for the second quarter at 10 a.m. Sales were up 2.7 percent last quarter, while the share of ­
e-commerce sales increased to 5.5 percent of total retail sales. Online sales were estimated to be worth $61.2 billion in the first quarter.

Today, Bullard is scheduled to speak about the economy in Lexington, Ky.


Housing starts for July will be out at 8:30 a.m. After a sharp drop of nearly 10 percent in June, led by a decline in multifamily housing, housing starts are expected to increase by 8.3 percent. Building permits are expected to increase by nearly 3 percent, after a drop of more than 7 percent.

Amrita Jayakumar covers federal government contracting for Capital Business, The Post's local business publication.
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