Last week ended on a high note, with the economy adding 146,000 jobs in November, well above the 85,000 that forecasters had expected. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.
Uncertainty still looms in Washington over the “fiscal cliff,” with a deal between Republicans and Democrats to avert the large spending cuts still elusive. Negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) are likely to continue in the coming week.
As the end of 2012 nears, this week will bring news from the Federal Reserve on short-term interest rates and the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the overall rate of inflation.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis releases new data on the trade balance in October. The figure shows the balance between goods and services being exported from and imported into the country. Forecasters expect to see a trade deficit of $42.6 billion., up from the $41.5 billion deficit registered in September.
The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee announces short-term interest rates at 12:30 p.m. This interest rate serves as a benchmark for all other rates set by banks for lending. Analysts expect members to hold the short-term interest rate steady at 0.25 percent.
One of the year’s last indicators on employment will be new jobless claims, released by the Department of Labor at 8:30 a.m. Forecasters expect to see 370,000 new jobless claims, holding constant from the previous week’s claims.
The Census Bureau also releases new information on retail sales at the same time. This could give clues to consumer confidence, as it measures how much Americans are spending.
Forecasters expect to see retail sales increase by 0.4 percent in November. In October, retail sales fell by 0.3 percent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases new data on the consumer price index, a measure of inflation. Forecasters expect to see CPI drop by 0.2 percent in November, after rising 0.1 percent in October.