Key economic events for the week of Dec. 30

December 29, 2013

In the last week of 2013, expect updates on automobile sales, the housing market and manufacturing sector.

Monday

The National Association of Realtors releases November’s pending home sales data at 10 a.m. This report tracks the signed contracts to buy homes in the previous month. Sales are projected to grow by 1 percent from October. They declined by 0.6 percent earlier.

On a yearly basis, pending-home sales are expected to be 0.2 percent below the same time last year.

Tuesday

More housing news: The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for October will be released at 9 a.m. The housing market has had a strong year, with most cities posting consistent monthly price gains. For October, analysts forecast that home prices grew by about 1 percent from the previous month and 13.4 percent from the same time last year.

The Consumer Confidence Index for December is expected to show a solid increase after two months of decline. The index, which measures American shoppers’ faith in the economic recovery, is forecast to climb to 76 points, from 70 last month. Consumer confidence has had a volatile year, reaching highs in the spring and falling sharply in the aftermath of the government shutdown.

Wednesday

Markets are closed on New Year’s Day.

Thursday

Weekly jobless claims are projected to reach 345,000, up from 338,000 claims the previous week.

The Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index at 10 a.m. Manufacturing has also had a choppy year, but the sector rebounded in the last few months of 2013. Analysts expect December’s index to drop slightly — down to 56.9 from 57.3 the previous month. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Construction spending for November is forecast to increase by 0.6 percent. Spending was up by 0.8 percent the previous month. One of the issues that plagued the housing market in 2013 was low inventory, and analysts say construction levels need to increase further to meet demand.

Friday

Motor vehicle sales data are released throughout the day. December sales are expected to reach 16 million units, slightly down from 16.3 million units the previous month. Auto companies have had a fantastic year, standing out in an otherwise lukewarm economic recovery.

Also, outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is scheduled to speak on the changing Fed in Philadelphia.

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