The U.S. economic recovery appears to be slowing, with gross domestic product having grown at a tepid 1.5 percent annual pace in the second quarter of 2012. That has fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve may try to do more to boost the recovery.
Still, analysts don’t expect much when the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee holds a news conference Wednesday after its July meeting. The Fed is still poring over data and trying to figure out whether the recovery has softened to the point where further action is required. Most likely, the central bank won’t take action until September, at the earliest. That means Friday’s release of new jobs data could prove the week’s most important economic event.
At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Economic Analysis releases data on personal income and expenditures in June. Previous data suggested people are working more hours, so analysts expect that trend to help boost the income numbers, possibly by a robust 0.4 percent.
At 9 a.m. comes the S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices for May. Analysts expect it to show the slide in home prices slowing.
At 10 a.m., the Census Bureau releases data on construction spending in June, which is expected to tick up 0.5 percent, thanks to growth in demand for single- and multi-family homes.
Analysts expect, however, that the Institute for Supply Management index for July will show manufacturing stuck in neutral, with a 49.5 reading — not quite a recession, but not growth either.
Also on Wednesday, the Fed’s Open Market Committee gives its news conference, although analysts don’t expect officials to announce plans to take further action this month.
At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports data on initial unemployment claims. Over the past four weeks, initial claims have nudged down to 367,000, on average.
At 8:30 a.m., the BLS releases its jobs numbers for July. The forecast is for 100,000 new jobs — a slight improvement from June’s weak report.