Economy Week Ahead: Factories, Consumer Spending and Employment

The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles drew shoppers as restrictions on gatherings have eased.



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The U.S. jobs report for September highlights a week of data that will show how economies are recovering from coronavirus-induced recessions and from continued disruptions related to the pandemic.

Wednesday

China’s official purchasing managers index for manufacturing is expected to show factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in September. Economists said manufacturers have sped up production to avoid shipment delays in the event buyers experience a return of Covid-19 this winter.

Thursday

The

Bank of Japan’s

tankan corporate sentiment survey for the third quarter is expected to improve, reflecting a gradual resumption of economic activity. In the second quarter, sentiment among Japan’s large manufacturers deteriorated to its lowest level in 11 years and even a significant gain will still show that more companies say business conditions are unfavorable than favorable.

The number of workers covered by Europe’s furlough schemes has been declining since lockdowns were eased, but without causing a surge in the number of people without jobs. That trend likely continued in August, with figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency expected to show that the jobless rate rose to 8.1% from 7.9% in July.

U.S. jobless claims have steadied at an elevated level in recent weeks, suggesting a slowdown in the labor market’s recovery. Economists expect only a slight decline in the number of applications for unemployment benefits during the week ended Sept. 26, underscoring continued labor-market disruption and a historically high number of layoffs.

U.S. consumer spending is expected to post another monthly increase in August, though at a slower pace than recent months. That would likely reflect several trends, including a partial rebound in employment, the expiration of some federal government benefits tied to the pandemic, and strong demand for many goods alongside a weaker recovery in the service sector.

The Institute for Supply Management’s September purchasing managers index for manufacturing is likely to reflect a strong rebound in factory activity amid a slow global recovery and strong domestic demand for autos, electronics and other goods.

Friday

Consumer prices in the eurozone were lower than they were a year earlier in August, and figures to be released by the European Union’s statistics agency are expected to show that they remained so in September, increasing the likelihood that the European Central Bank will have to provide further stimulus if it is to meet its inflation target.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to post another strong gain and the unemployment rate to decline in September as more businesses recall workers. But the pace of hiring might have slowed and the overall level of employment will likely remain millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, underscoring the severe damage from the pandemic and the long road to full recovery.

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Appeared in the September 28, 2020, print edition as ‘Economic Calendar.’

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