GDP and jobs data take the stage this week

Job seekers meet with recruiters during a job

Job seekers meet with recruiters during a job fair (Credit: Job seekers meet with recruiters during a job fair. (Getty Images))

We'll witness a perfect storm of two market-moving economic data releases this week on Wall Street, with both the first estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth and the January employment report due out within two days of each other.

First to be released on Wednesday is the GDP estimate for the final three months of 2012.

In the third quarter, the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.7%, but economists expect GDP growth to slow drastically in the fourth to 1.5%.

"Even though there are signs that economic activity picked up at the end of 2012 despite uncertainty related to the fiscal cliff, we expect a very slow pace of growth in ," said JP Morgan in a weekly economy research note.

The bank pointed out that businesses have cut down significantly on inventory accumulation between October and December last year compared to the three months prior, which would negatively impact GDP growth.

On Friday, the employment report for January will be released. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 7.8% in December and November, the same rate as when President Barack Obama first took office back in January 2009.

It's by no means a good number, but it's still the best number in four years.

Economists expect the January unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7.8%, with the private sector estimated to have added 168,000 new jobs, a slight increase from 155,000 in December.

Those numbers would continue a positive recent trend in job growth, but once again, they would be far from making a significant dent in the unemployment rate.

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