POLITICS: PennAve

The week ahead in economics: Jobs report, Obama speaks and Detroit

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Barack Obama,Jobs,Labor,Detroit,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,Federal Reserve,Government Shutdown,Unemployment

A slew of economic data coming out this week will answer the question of how well the U.S. has survived the government shutdown and debt limit fights -- and, possibly, what the Federal Reserve will do in response.

The number-one economic indicator, the jobs report, is due out Friday morning for the month of November.

The October report was surprisingly strong with 204,000 jobs added, but it was difficult to gauge just how reliable it was because of data collection anomalies caused by the government shutdown that took place during the month.

Analysts expect this month's reading from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to show 180,000 new jobs, with the unemployment rate ticking down from 7.3 percent to 7.2 percent.

That result would be in line with the trajectory of the tepid economic recovery that has taken place over the past four years. It could pose a dilemma for officials at the Fed, who have said in recent weeks that the decision to begin scaling back its stimulus programs is conditional on evidence of sustained growth. Chairman Ben Bernanke and other top members of the Fed have suggested that they could taper the Fed's $85 billion monthly bond-buying program at its Dec. 17-18 meeting if the data comes in stronger than expected.

One other key indicator Bernanke and others will look at is the second estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product growth that will be released Thursday morning. The initial reading was 2.8 percent growth on a yearly basis, but economists expect that to tick up to 3.1 percent in Thursday's data.

On Wednesday morning, President Obama is scheduled to give a speech on the economy at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress, a left-of-center D.C. think tank closely aligned with the Obama White House. It's not yet known what the president will talk about, but it will be an opportunity for him to steer the conversation back to the still-weak U.S. economy after weeks of media focus on the botched roll-out of healthcare.gov, the Obamacare website.

Also on Wednesday morning, the Hamilton Project will hold an event on supporting lower-middle-class families. Top Clinton and Obama administration economic officials will speak at the event, including former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, former Obama Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag, and current Obama adviser Jason Furman.

On Tuesday, a federal judge will rule on whether Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings can continue. Some representatives of the city's unions, which likely would face pension cuts in bankruptcy, sought to block the city's emergency manager's bankruptcy filing on the grounds that he hadn't demonstrated the city's bankruptcy. Detroit is likely going to be allowed to continue with its plans to restructure its obligations when the judge issues his opinion Tuesday morning, USA Today reports.

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