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Business week ahead, Jan. 4-8

Bed Bath & Beyond, which is closing its

Bed Bath & Beyond, which is closing its Manhasset store, reports earnings this week. Credit: Tory Parrish

KEY EVENT: The Labor Department on Friday releases the nation’s unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost in December. Since the depths of the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in April, the unemployment rate has improved every month. But the improvement has slowed, and many economists are concerned the jobless rate might rise and job creation might slow because of the second wave of the pandemic that hit hard as autumn ended.

MONDAY: Construction spending in November from the Commerce Department.

TUESDAY: Automakers release December car and truck sales.

WEDNESDAY: The change in private-sector jobs in December as estimated by payrolls processor ADP. Also, the Federal Reserve releases the minutes from its December meeting. Earnings: Melville industrial supplies distributor MSC Industrial Supply.

THURSDAY: Jobless benefits claims for the week ended Jan. 2 from the Labor Department. Earnings: Bed Bath & Beyond, Birds Eye brand owner Conagra Brands, Corona beer distributor Constellation Brands, Walgreens Boots Alliance.

FRIDAY: In addition to the unemployment rate, the Labor Department releases workers’ average weekly wages in December. The average wage has been climbing since March mainly because lower-income workers have been hit hardest by layoffs and are not counted when the average wage is calculated.

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