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US Data: Highlights of MNI Survey of Economic Forecasts

     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following are highlights of forecasts for   
upcoming U.S. economic indicators provided by participants in the MNI   
weekly survey. The comment section presents the key elements behind the 
median forecasts.         
Weekly Jobless Claims for December 29 week                                
 Thursday, January 3 at 8:30 a.m. ET                     Actual:       
               Median         Range                  Dec29  Dec22  Dec15
 Weekly Claims   220k     215k to 220k                  --   216k   217k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to rise 
to 220,000 in the December 29 week after a decrease of 1,000 to 216,000 
level in the previous week. The prevalence of holidays in November and 
December make seasonal adjustment difficult at the end of the year. The 
four-week moving average would fall in the coming week as the 233,000 
level in the December 1 week rolls out of the calculation, assuming the 
MNI forecast is correct and there are no revisions. 
Construction Spending for November (percent change)                        
 Thursday, January 3 at 10:00 a.m. ET                    Actual:
               Median         Range                  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
 Construction   +0.3%     Flat to +0.5%                 --  -0.1%  -0.1%
     Comments: Construction spending is expected to rise by 0.3% in 
November after small declines in the previous two months. Housing starts 
rebounded in the month, a positive for private residential building. 
ISM Manufacturing Index for December                                       
 Thursday, January 3 at 10:00 a.m. ET                    Actual:
               Median         Range                  Dec18  Nov18  Oct18
 Mfg ISM         58.0     56.5 to 58.3                  --   59.3   57.7
     Comments: The ISM manufacturing index is expected to fall to a 
reading of 58.0 in December after rebounding to 59.3 in November. 
Regional conditions data have suggested slower growth, while the Markit 
flash reading slipped. 
Domestic Motor Vehicle Sales for December (mln units, saar)                  
 Thursday, January 3                                     Actual:
               Median         Range                  Dec18  Nov18  Oct18
 Sales Ex GM                                            --   9.8m  10.1m
     Comments: The SAAR for domestic-made vehicle sales is expected to 
rebound modestly in December after declning further in November. 
Seasonal adjustment factors will be a subtraction from December 
unadjusted sales after being a small addition in November. 
Nonfarm Payrolls for December (change in thousands)                     
 Friday, January 4 at 8:30 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Dec18  Nov18  Oct18 
 Payrolls        180k     166k to 200k                 --  +155k  +237k
 Private Jobs    175k     162k to 195k                 --  +161k  +251k
 Jobless Rate    3.7%     3.6% to 3.8%                 --   3.7%   3.7%
 Hrly Earnings  +0.3%    +0.2% to +0.3%                --  +0.2%  +0.1%
 Avg Wkly Hrs    34.5     34.4 to 34.5                 --   34.4   34.5
     Comments: Nonfarm payrolls are forecast to rise by 180,000 in 
December after a weaker-than-expected 155,000 rise in November, a 
payback from the previous month's sharp increase. The unemployment rate 
is expected to hold steady at the 3.7% level from the previous three 
months, with annual revisions to the household survey possibly altering 
the recent picture. Hourly earnings are forecast to rise 0.3%. A 0.4% 
gain in December 2017 provides a high hurdle for the monthly change this 
year to reach to keep the 3.1% year/year rate intact. The average 
workweek is expected to rise to 34.5 hours after dipping to 34.4 hours 
in November.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 (973) 494-2611; email:

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