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This Week: Manufacturing index, jobless aid claims, hiring

December 31, 2018

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week:

EYE ON MANUFACTURING

IHS Markit’s latest monthly index should provide insight into the health of U.S. manufacturing.

The financial information company’s purchasing managers index, due out Wednesday, is a broad gauge of activity across the manufacturing sector. Economists project that December’s reading dropped to 53.9. That would be the second monthly drop in for the index. Readings above 50 indicate expansion in manufacturing.

IHS Markit Purchasing Managers Index of manufacturing, monthly, seasonally adjusted:

July 55.3

Aug. 54.7

Sept. 55.6

Oct. 55.8

Nov. 55.3

Dec. (est.) 53.9

Source: FactSet

TRACKING UNEMPLOYMENT AID

The Labor Department reports its latest weekly figures on applications for unemployment aid Thursday.

Applications dropped two weeks ago to a seasonally adjusted 216,000. The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell to 218,000. Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When fewer people seek benefits, it suggests that employers are keeping their workers.

Initial jobless benefit claims, weekly, seasonally adjusted:

Nov. 23: 235,000

Nov. 30: 233,000

Dec. 7: 206,000

Dec. 14: 217,000

Dec. 21: 216,000

Dec. 28: (est.) 214,500

Source: FactSet

ALL ABOUT JOBS

Economists predict hiring in the U.S. rebounded in December after falling the previous month.

They expect the Labor Department will report Friday that nonfarm employers added 180,000 jobs in December. The economy added 155,000 jobs in November. The nation’s unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent, a nearly five-decade low, for the third straight month.

Nonfarm payrolls, monthly change, seasonally adjusted:

July 165,000

Aug. 286,000

Sept. 119,000

Oct. 237,000

Nov. 155,000

Dec. (est.) 180,000

Source: FactSet

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