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This Week: Auto sales, trade balance, nonfarm payrolls

April 2, 2018

FILE- In this March 12, 2018, photograph, a long row of 2018 Countryman models is shown at a Mini Cooper dealership in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Automakers release their March U.S. sales figures Tuesday, April 3. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

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

AUTO SALES

Automakers release their March U.S. sales figures Tuesday.

Sales of new cars and trucks declined 2 percent in February from a year earlier as automakers eased up on discounts. Among major automakers, only Toyota, Subaru and Volkswagen reported sales gains. A J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast calls for March sales to be up from a year ago, hitting a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 16.9 million units.

OUT OF BALANCE

The nation’s trade deficit has been steadily growing, recently climbing to the highest level in nearly 10 years.

It reached $56.6 billion in January, the highest level since October 2008. The deficit, or the gap between what America sells and what it buys abroad, has now risen for five straight months. Did the trend continue in February? Find out Thursday, when the Commerce Department reports its latest monthly measure of the nation’s trade balance.

Trade balance, monthly, billions of dollars, seasonally adjusted:

Sept. -45.3

Oct. -49.1

Nov. -50.9

Dec. -53.9

Jan. -56.6

Feb. (est.) -56.3

Source: FactSet

ALL ABOUT JOBS

Economists predict hiring in the U.S. slowed in March after a big increase the previous month.

They expect the Labor Department will report Friday that nonfarm employers added 175,000 jobs in March. That would be down from a gain of 313,000 in February. Job growth has accelerated in recent months. Companies have added an average of 242,000 jobs a month over the past three months, above 2017′s pace of 182,000.

Nonfarm payrolls, monthly change, seasonally adjusted:

Oct. 271,000

Nov. 216,000

Dec. 175,000

Jan. 239,000

Feb. 313,000

March (est.) 175,000

Source: FactSet

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