The last trading day of the week and the first of February offers several economic reports, including the granddaddy of them all, the monthly Employment Situation Report. Last month, when the unemployment rate was reported at 7.8%, we reminded investors of the real unemployment rate, which we calculated at 11.7%. We said underemployment, which includes part-timers who would rather be employed full-time (and others), was likely closer to 17.9% than the government’s published U-6 rate of 14.4%. Looking forward to this week’s report for January, economists expect the unemployment rate to ease to 7.7%. The consensus expects a private nonfarm payroll increase of 185K, versus the 168K increase in December.
The Markit PMI Manufacturing Index is due for report just before 9:00 AM. The organization produces manufacturing indexes across the globe and they’ll all be available as well through the relative period. The economists’ consensus is for an increase in the U.S. index to 55.5 for January, up from 54.0 in December. Find this data here.
The ISM Manufacturing Index is also up for report at 10:00 AM ET Friday. This is the more widely followed domestic measure of manufacturing. Economists are looking for this index to stick at 50.7 in January, where it was in December. That’s perilously close to break-even, so markets will be closely attuned here. See the ISM report.
The Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is up for report at 10:00 AM ET. I expect consumer sentiment to improve now that the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling and stock market anxiety have all been mitigated. Economists see this measure improving just a bit to 71.5 in January, from 71.3 in December. Investors will catch wind of this report as it finds coverage on the newswire, but those interested in more detail can find that here.
The final economic report on the day will be the Construction Spending data, due for release at 10:00 AM ET. Construction spending has been steadily increasing on a year-to-year basis for quite some time now. On a monthly basis, it decreased in November by 0.3%, but is seen increasing by 0.8% month-to-month by the consensus of economists. Find the construction spending data here.
Automakers will report on monthly motor vehicle sales Friday individually and the data will be compiled and aggregated. Domestic vehicle sales ran at an annual rate of 12.0 million in December and are seen running at that same pace in January. Total vehicle sales ran at a 15.4 million pace in December, and are seen slowing to 15.3 million in January. Investors in General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford (NYSE: F) and the rest will have special interest in market share information implied. Find more on motor vehicle sales data here.
The SEC will meet to discuss regulations affecting small and emerging companies in Washington D.C.
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