5 Things to Watch on the Economic Calendar

1. Non-Auto Retail Sales Should Phone In A September Gain
September retail sales numbers from the Commerce Department are on tap Wednesday. Economists expect a 0.1% slip in top-line sales, following an auto-driven 0.6% jump in August. Excluding autos, sales are expected to increase a healthy 0.3%. Take note of the mix of buying: Apple released its new iPhone 6/6Plus in mid-September and sold more than 10 million of them in the first weekend. Those purchases may boost receipts at online and electronics stores, but shift money away from sales at other merchants, like apparel stores.

2. More Jobs at Small Businesses Go Unfilled
The National Federation of Independent Business will release its small business optimism index Tuesday. The survey includes labor-related datapoints, including ones that have caught the Fed’s attention. A greater share of small business owners have jobs they cannot fill right now. If that percentage rises again from August’s 26%, it will be a sign of tighter labor markets.

3. Constructing New Numbers on Housing
The National Association of Home Builders will report on October builder confidence on Thursday. The housing market index has jumped by 10 points to 59 in the four months ended in September and economists expect the October index to hold at 59.
But builders’ euphoria has gotten ahead of actual construction. August housing starts dropped 14.4% to an annual rate of 956,000. Economists think September starts, to be reported Friday, increased about 5%, to 1 million, which would make up for only part of the August plunge.

4. Factory Output Should Rebound
Like housing, manufacturing is another sector expected to contribute to economic growth in the second half. But total factory output stumbled in August, thanks to a drop in vehicle production. The 7.6% decline in vehicle output mainly reflected problems seasonally adjusting the data around the annual auto plant shutdowns. September should show factory output rebounded when the Fed releases national industrial data on Thursday.

5. Beige Book May Color Fed's View on Wage Growth
The Fed will release the beige book Wednesday. The report, a compilation of anecdotal reporting gathered by district banks, offers a timely look at the economy ahead of the October 28-29 policy meeting. Two topics to read the book for: examples of companies that are raising pay to attract workers, and worries mentioned by business contacts about the global slowdown, a topic that Fed officials discussed during their last meeting.

By Eric Morath
http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2014/09/12/5-things-to-watch-on-the-economic-calendar-34/
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The economic forecasts and opinions set forth in this article may not develop as predicted.