This Week In Business: Factory Orders, Services Industry Health, Layoffs Update

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week:

Economic barometer

The Commerce Department releases its July snapshot of business orders to U.S. factories on Tuesday.

Economists project that factory orders fell 2.7% in July from the previous month. That would mark the first monthly decline in orders since February, when they dropped 1.1%. Orders have been generally rising throughout the year as consumer spending remained strong, despite persistent inflation. Economists and companies are increasingly worried about consumer demand ahead.

Factory orders, monthly percent change, seasonally adjusted:

Feb. -1.7

March 0.6

April 0.3

May 0.4

June 2.3

July (est.) -2.7

Source: FactSet

Services status

The Institute for Supply Management releases its latest report on the U.S. services sector Wednesday.

Economists expect the monthly index edged down to 52.5 in August from 52.7 the previous month. The sector employs most Americans and has remained resilient despite pressure from inflation. The sector is being watched closely amid worries about consumer spending slowing and the economy slipping into a recession at some point in 2023.

ISM Services PMI (seasonally adjusted):

March 51.2

April 51.9

May 50.3

June 53.9

July 52.7

Aug. 52.5

Source: FactSet

Weekly unemployment gauge

The Labor Department releases its weekly snapshot of unemployment benefit applications Thursday.

Jobless aid applications, a proxy for layoffs, has remained relatively steady over the last several weeks. Applications for jobless aid reached 265,000 in June. Outside of a flurry of layoffs in the technology sector early this year, companies have mostly been retaining workers. The labor market is being closely watched by the Federal Reserve amid inflation and high interest rates.

Initial jobless benefit claims, weekly, seasonally adjusted:

July 14: 228,000

July 21: 221,000

July 28: 227,000

Aug. 4: 250,000

Aug. 11: 240,000

Aug. 18: 230,000

Aug. 26 (est.): 235,000

Source: FactSet