After a slew of news from the Federal Reserve about jobs, this week is set to be a quieter time on the economic data front.
Consumer credit notched a surprising decline in August, the first in nearly a year. Analysts expect the September number, out Monday, to partly reverse that decline. They project that consumer debt outstanding rose $5.2 billion in September, following its $9.5 billion August decline. That could reflect a combination of consumers being confident enough to take on more credit-card and other debt, and banks loosening lending standards enough to lend it to them.
The Labor Department releases a key survey that shows the moving parts within the job market. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover report shows what combination of firings, hirings and voluntary departures add up to the numbers on net change in employment that economists scrutinize each month. Behind the weak job creation in recent months has been an interesting trend — not mass firings, as was experienced during the 2009 recession, but a labor market frozen in place. Companies aren’t hiring at a rapid pace nor are workers leaving employers, voluntarily or otherwise; this is a job market with unusually little churn.
International trade data for September is projected to show a slight widening of the nation’s trade deficit, to $46.2 billion from $45.6 billion. The number should shape revisions to third-quarter gross domestic product data, which when first released showed a 2.5 percent rate of growth, helped, in the initial release at least, by trade.
Also, the Labor Department releases new data on last week’s unemployment insurance claims. The claims data has held steady in the last couple of months, hovering just a bit over 400,000. Analysts expect the number to be exactly that — 400,000 — in this week’s release.
The University of Michigan releases its consumer sentiment index, which is expected to rise to 61.5 in November, from 60.9, reflecting more stable economic news.
— Neil Irwin
Charles Goodhart addresses where the Europe crisis will end up, at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Also, why did the economics profession turn away from participating in public debates, and how does the economics blogosphere change that? Mark Thoma has a wise take at the Social Science Research Council’s Web site. Find links at washingtonpost.com/mustreads.