This week is likely to be a quiet one for economic data. Economy-watchers will want to pay attention to the outcome of a regulatory vote on the Volcker rule. Also, expect updates on retail sales for the start of the critical holiday shopping season and reports on business inventories and wholesale trade.
The National Federation of Independent Business will release its small-business optimism index for November at 7:30 a.m. Small-business owners have been largely pessimistic about the economy heading into the holiday shopping season, and hiring has been slow. The index is expected to read 92.6, a point up from the previous month.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) index for October is to be released at 10 a.m. This index provides a deeper look at the state of employment in the country. The nation’s latest jobs report — released last week — showed that the November unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent and that the economy added 203,000 jobs.
Wholesale trade and inventory data for October will come out at 10 a.m. Inventories are forecast to have increased by 0.3 percent and trade sales by 0.2 percent. In September, they increased by 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
Also, federal regulators, including the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., are scheduled to take a final vote on the Volcker rule, which would prevent banks from making risky investments with their own money.
First up, weekly new jobless claims are expected to increase to 325,000, after plunging to a six-year low of 298,000 last week.
Next, the Census Bureau’s retail sales report for November will be released. This report includes data from the Thanksgiving shopping weekend. Some retailers have said the holiday weekend was less than stellar, despite their decisions to open earlier this year. Sales are expected to have increased by 0.6 percent in November, up from 0.4 percent in October.
The Labor Department will release November’s import price index, which is expected to decline by 0.8 percent. Import prices fell by 0.7 percent the previous month, largely because of lower fuel prices.
Business inventories are expected to have increased by 0.3 percent in October. They were up by 0.6 percent the previous month.
The producer price index for November is forecast to slip 0.1 percent. In October, the index declined by 0.2 percent. The index is generally considered a good measure of inflation.