Measurements of employment and industrial and consumer activity in leading economies will dominate this week’s data.

Non-farm payrolls, the headline US employment indicator, is released on Friday. Analysts expect an improvement on July’s loss of 247,000 jobs, with the consensus opinion being for just 222,000 jobs to have been shed during August. Such an improvement would be the smallest loss of jobs since September 2008, but nevertheless would push the US unemployment rate up to 9.5 per cent from the 9.4 seen in July.

Eurozone unemployment figures are released on Tuesday and analysts predict a continuation of the rising trend. July’s figure is expected to increase to 9.5 per cent from the 9.4 seen in June.

US non-farm payrolls

The seasonally adjusted measure of Germany’s unemployment, which is also published on Tuesday, has been flat-lining since April at 8.3 per cent. The consensus forecast is for a slight worsening of this figure to 8.4 per cent.

Industrial performance as measured by purchasing managers indices has been steadily improving this year (see chart). US ISM manufacturing, released on Tuesday, is expected for the first time since January 2008 to show an expansion of the sector. Consensus opinion predicts an August figure of 50.2, which would be significant because it breaches the 50 level that indicates growth in the sector.

Better news, too, is expected from the UK manufacturing PMI, which is also published tomorrow. The return to growth seen during July is expected to continue, with the August figure expected to hit 51.3, up from 50.8.

Actual figures for Japan’s industrial production during July are released on Monday. This sector, one of the worst hit by the global recession, is expected to have grown slightly from June, up about 1 per cent. Little comfort can be taken from this figure though, because output remains down by more than 20 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The pulse of the service sector can be taken on Thursday when its PMI’s are released.

US ISM non-manufacturing, which measures the US service sector, has been contracting since September 2008, but there has been a slowing in the rate during the past five months. Analysts expect an August figure of 48, up from July’s 46.4, but still shy of the crucial 50 level that indicates growth.

Other positive signs in the US consumer sector can be found in the housing market. Last week saw house prices in June, as measured by the S&P Case-Shiller 10 city composite, register their second successive monthly increase. Tuesday’s release of US pending home sales in July is expected to bring positive news, with an increase of 1 per cent on the June figure.

Meanwhile, the PMI for UK services, which has been growing since May, is expected to continue the trend in August. The consensus prediction is for a slight improvement from July’s 53.2 to 53.9.

UK mortgage approval and Halifax house-price figures, both out this week, are expected to point to continuing signs of improvement in the UK housing market.

Eurozone inflation data is released on Monday and is forecast to show a slight fall in consumer prices over the year. And the region’s second-quarter gross domestic product is scheduled to be confirmed on Wednesday, with analysts not expecting to see a change in the estimate of a 0.1 per cent contraction since the first quarter.

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