05 July 5 Things to Watch on the U.S. Economic Calendar By: James Fletcher | Category:

1. Whither Work?

Economists and investors have been debating whether May’s puny 38,000 net job growth was an anomaly or a sign of a broader hiring slowdown as the labor market approaches full employment. Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department will shed light on which way the trend is heading. A couple other clues, including an employment gauge from payroll processor ADP and weekly jobless claims figures, will come Thursday.

2. Fed Fears

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s mid-June monetary policy meeting on Wednesday will give further insight into how policymakers made sense of May’s hiring slowdown. While the meeting came before the June 23 Brexit referendum, we could see what types of risks Fed officials envisaged and how they saw the outcome hitting the U.S. economy.

3. Service Slump

Two gauges of the U.S. service sector will come Wednesday morning. May was rough: The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index dropped to 52.9, its lowest level since February 2014, and the employment sub-index fell into contraction, an ominous sign for the U.S. economy since about 90% of jobs are in the service industry. Data provider Markit also releases a services index; it held steady in a preliminary June figure after May’s 51.3 reading.

4. Trade Winds

Net exports contributed roughly one-tenth of a percentage point to GDP growth in the first quarter of 2016, after dragging on growth for the prior two quarters, and April saw U.S. exports rise. That could be a sign the impact of the strong U.S. currency may have eased that month. But the dollar climbed in May, again making exports more expensive for overseas buyers. May’s international trade figures, due Wednesday from the Commerce Department, will shed light on the state of trade ahead of any Brexit fallout.

Credit Lines

Consumer credit has been steadily creeping up since the end of 2010, surpassing $3.6 trillion outstanding as of April. Much of that is in student loans and car loans. But the level of revolving credit–mostly credit card debt–is approaching $1 trillion. Friday afternoon brings fresh figures for May, a month in which both retail sales and personal spending posted solid gains.