THIS WEEK, May 3-7

This Week: A gusher of data for economy watchers

Monday, May 3, 2010

This week offers a gusher of data that should give economy watchers lots to think about.


March personal income and consumption data are to be released Monday morning, though they are less important than usual because they were reflected in the first-quarter gross domestic product data released Friday. Incomes are expected to have risen 0.3 percent; spending, 0.6 percent.

The April data will begin to flow at 10 a.m., when the Institute for Supply Management releases its index of manufacturing conditions. Analysts are looking for the index to come in at 60, up from 59.6 in March. That would be the fifth straight month of acceleration in manufacturing activity, and the ninth straight month in which the index was above 50, the line between expansion and contraction.

Also Monday, analysts expect a Commerce Department report to show that construction spending declined 0.3 percent and that April vehicle sales slid to an 11.4 million annual rate, from 11.8 million in March.


March factory orders are expected to show a decline of 0.1 percent, while pending home sales that month are forecast to have risen 4 percent.


The Institute for Supply Management will release its service industry index, which analysts expect to have risen to 56 in April, indicating slightly faster expansion than in March.


Productivity growth was strong but no longer blistering in the first quarter, if forecasters are correct. Look for a 2.4 percent gain in American workers' output per hour on the job, compared with a 6.9 percent gain in the fourth quarter.

Also, major chain stores will report April results.


The April jobs report is due, and it should be a whopper. The nation is expected to have added 200,000 jobs last month, which would be a blockbuster number -- but one boosted by temporary hiring for the 2010 Census. For a better sense of the true trend, look at what happens to private payrolls; forecasters expect a gain of 80,000 private-sector jobs, which would be a solid result.

The unemployment rate, meanwhile, is expected to remain at 9.7 percent.

-- Neil Irwin

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