There’s been a mixed bag of economic news recently: On the one hand, there was a downward revision to 1.3 percent for real gross domestic product growth for the second quarter. On the other, consumer confidence rose to the highest levels in four months as housing and stock prices are heading upward.
Analysts will be paying close attention to housing, manufacturing and jobs numbers to see whether the economy really is picking up or whether we’re still largely stuck in neutral.
After dropping 0.9 percent in July, construction spending is projected to have grown by 0.5 percent in August. But analysts expect that most of the growth will come from improvements in residential construction, rather than public or private nonresidential construction.
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index is expected to rise very slightly from 49.6 in August to 50.0 for September.
Analysts expect motor vehicle sales to remain constant at 14.5 million in September — the same level as August — supported by continued strength in the sales of mid-size sedans and full-size pickups.
The ISM non-manufacturing index is expected to drop slightly from 53.7 in August to 53.4 for September, suggesting that general economic growth is likely to remain lukewarm.
The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee Meeting in mid-
September will be released, offering new clues about the Fed’s decision to pursue an open-ended monetary easing policy, known as QE3.
The jobs report for September will be out at 8:30 a.m. Analysts expect payroll growth to rise from 96,000 in August to 115,000 in September. Those new jobs will probably not be enough to prevent the unemployment rate from rising slightly, possibly to 8.2 percent.
That said, this monthly jobs report, like all others, is a preliminary estimate that will very likely be revised. On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released revised data showing that the United States had actually added 386,000 more jobs than the monthly reports had indicated between April 2011 and March 2012.