Week Ahead Brings Insight to Current Employment and Manufacturing Conditions
March 2, 2010 - Much of the optimism about the pace of economic recovery evaporated last week, as economic news turned mostly sour. Sales of previously owned U.S. homes declined 7.2% to an annual pace of 5.05 million. Many are concerned that the first time homebuyer credit is losing steam and sales numbers should accordingly adjust. The fourth quarter gross domestic product index was revised to 5.9%. Nearly two thirds of the GDP growth seen in the last few months of 2009 was accounted by an increase in inventories and not by final sales.
This week brings us the usual cascade of first-of-the-month data, with should provide insight into the health of manufacturing and employment. The ISM Manufacturing Index expanded for the seventh straight month, but a slower pace than previously noted before. Dipping slightly to 56.5, February's reading was slightly lower than most economists' predictions.. While a reading above 50 generally indicates that the economy is expanding, the small decline from January's 58.4 is likely to keep rates stable.