Investing.com - The economic calendar for the week ending May 2 brings a fresh look at the U.S. labor market, as well as preliminary data on euro zone inflation. This comes as European Central Bank is flagging growing concerns over the impact of the strong currency on the inflation outlook. Here are some key events to watch:
U.S. nonfarm payrolls report
Market watchers are expecting the U.S. employment report for March to show solid jobs growth, with a payroll gain of 205,000, while the unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 6.6% from 6.7% in March. Economists will also be closely watching wage growth to determine how much slack there is in the labor markets.
Federal Reserve policy statement
The Federal Reserve is to publish its latest rate statement at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. Economists are expecting the U.S. central bank to stick to its current timetable for tapering its asset purchase program, but will be looking to the policy statement for clarity on the timing of possible rate increases after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last month that rates could start to rise around six months after the stimulus program winds up.
Euro zone inflation report
The euro zone is to release data on the annual rate of consumer inflation on Wednesday, which could determine whether or not the ECB embarks on quantitative easing. In March the euro zone’s statistics agency said the annual rate of inflation slowed to 0.5%, the lowest since November 2009. The ECB targets an inflation rate of close to but just under 2%.The consensus forecast is for the inflation rate to rise to 0.8%.
U.S. first quarter growth
The Commerce Department is to publish its preliminary estimate for U.S. first quarter growth on Wednesday, with economists forecasting annualized growth of just 1.3%, compared with 2.6% in Q4, as a result of adverse weather depressing economic activity at the start of the year.
U.S. ISM manufacturing survey
The Institute for Supply Management is to publish its April report on U.S. manufacturing activity on Thursday. The consensus forecast is for an uptick in manufacturing activity. Economists will be focusing on the employment component of the index, ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report.
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