The Week Ahead

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NATIONALLY

The National Association of Retailers will release data on existing-home sales Wednesday. The figure should serve as a gauge of demand for housing and a measure of the overall economy’s strength.

Home resales have slowly crept up in recent months, a trend expected to continue in Tuesday’s data report. Analysts expect to see 4.65 million such homes sold in January. That would be a 0.9 percent increase over the 4.61 million sold the previous month.

On Thursday, analysts expect the Labor Department to report 355,000 initial jobless claims. That would represent a 2.6 percent increase over the 348,000 initial claims reported in prior weeks, indicating a slight increase in the number of job seekers.

Also on Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City will release its monthly look at the state of manufacturing in its district, which covers a wide swath of the Midwest. Analysts expect to see a continued increase in manufacturing activity, a trend that has continued from late 2011.

Friday should be another critical day for sizing up the housing recovery. Housing starts are expected to total 315,000, up 2.6 percent from the 307,000 reported by the U.S. Census Bureau last month. New-home sales have increased regularly but slowly in recent months.

The week will end with some insight into consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan’s consumer survey. Consu­mer confidence hit a one-year high in January but dropped slightly in survey data released in early February. Analysts expect this month’s data to show consumer confidence holding steady.

The Washington Post

IN AUGUSTA

TUESDAY: Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce annual meeting; speaker is Sen. Jim DeMint; 6 p.m.; North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave.; (803) 279-2323

TUESDAY: Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce Women In Business luncheon, topic is women in politics; 11:30 a.m.; Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, 2 10th St.; $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers; (706) 821-1318

WEDNESDAY: Columbia County Chamber of Commerce professional development luncheon; 11:30 a.m.; Be My Guest Events and Catering, 4216 Washington Road, Evans; $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers; (706) 651-0018

THURSDAY: Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce annual meeting; 6 p.m.; Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center,
2 10th St.; $55 members, $75 nonmembers; (706) 821-1318

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