The Week Ahead: GDP report, Consumer Sentiment Index, Christmas spending

Photo by Lorah Slaton
More than 36 percent of consumers surveyed want to receive experiential gifts like tickets or trips this Christmas, the National Retail Federation reports. | Lorah Slaton/Missouri Business Alert

Here’s a look at some of the stories Missouri Business Alert is tracking this week:


The Chicago Fed National Activity Index, a monthly index that gauges overall economic activity and inflationary pressure, will be released. An above-average figure is expected after a solid month for employment and housing but weak factory data and uneven consumer spending, Bloomberg reports.


The Commerce Department will release the final report on gross domestic product for the third quarter. Economists expect that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the last quarter, down from the government’s previous estimate of 2.1 percent.


The University of Michigan is scheduled to publish its final Consumer Sentiment Index of the year. The preliminary December reading for the index was largely unchanged from November, with consumers evaluating current economic conditions more favorably and future prospects less favorably, according to Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.


The Labor Department is set to issue its new jobless claims for the Dec. 19 week. Forecasters see initial claims holding steady in the week, at a consensus 270,000.


Christmas 2015 is likely to involve millions of Americans giving and receiving the gift of experiences, the National Retail Federation reports. For the first time this year, the federation surveyed consumers about experiential gifts like sporting tickets or trips, and it found 22.2 percent are planning to give an experience-type gift and 36.5 percent would like to receive one.


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