The US economy is set to end the year on a high note, as steady job creation, robust consumer spending and a rebounding industrial sector pave the way for the Federal Reserve’s first rate increase in a year.
Investors will be keeping tabs on a deluge of US economic reports this week, culminating in Friday’s November nonfarm payrolls report. Employers are forecast to add 170,000 jobs this month, up from 161,000 in October, according to a median estimate of economists polled by Bloomberg. That’s well above the level needed to sustain a healthy labour market.
Another month of solid job creation will provide Fed policymakers with the final push to resume raising interest rates next month. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will conclude its policy meeting December 14. Chances of a 25 basis point rate hike are nearly 94%, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.
On Tuesday, the Commerce Department is expected to revise its third quarter GDP estimate to reflect 3.1% annualized growth, compared to 2.9% reported last month.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta predicted earlier this week that growth would accelerate to 3.6% year-over-year in the fourth quarter. That would mark the fastest expansion since the third quarter of 2014, when then economy was rebounding from unexpected contraction in the first quarter.
Despite the economy being near full employment, the recovery has been uneven since the Great Recession. That’s why President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to spend up to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending and renegotiate Washington’s trade policies. He has also promised to reform the corporate tax code and deregulate the financial services sector. In the eyes of investors, these policies will lead to faster economic growth. US stocks settled at new records in each of the four trading sessions this week.
In addition to nonfarm payrolls and GDP, the US government will also report on personal income and outlays next week. The report will also be accompanied by data on core personal expenditure (PCE), the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation.