This week's unemployment report from the government will give economy watchers a better idea of where the labor market is headed.
The unemployment rate bottomed out at around 3.9 percent in the second half of last year, which made it more difficult for companies to recruit and keep employees. However, fortunes have changed in the labor market, and the jobless rate has risen steadily almost every month this year as companies cut jobs and economic growth slows.
Economists expect Friday's release to show a modest uptick in unemployment to 4.6 percent in August from July's 4.5 percent.
Intel will tell Wall Street how it's doing this week. The chipmaker will give a midquarter business update of its third quarter on Thursday, which will be available by Webcast.
Technology enthusiasts who are tired of hearing about the economy can turn their attention toward the DEMOmobile conference, which kicks off Wednesday. A number of product announcements are expected, including news about the latest version of Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system for handheld computers.
Other events scheduled this week:
- Two conferences will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Sept. 4-8. Web2001 will focus on issues related to Web site and Web page design. Internet & Mobile will address how Web sites can forge an e-commerce presence on the wireless Internet.
- The embedded systems conference kicks off at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Sept. 4-7. The event is for engineers, developers and project managers who want to learn more about chips that are used in equipment for networking and industrial uses. Executives from Sun Microsystems, Nortel Networks and Red Hat will deliver keynote speeches and panel presentations.
- The Enterprise Web Corporate Portal Conference takes place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif., Sept. 5-6. The event covers topics related to how businesses can use the Internet and company Web sites to run more efficiently. Executives from Oracle, which helped sponsor the event, will make keynote presentations.
- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and other senior executives will gather for a press event that will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Microsoft Research, the division that works on next-generation software.
- DEMOmobile takes place at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif., Sept. 5-7. The event is for people interested in products and technologies that influence the wireless marketplace. A number of big announcements are expected at the event including word of Microsoft's new version of the PocketPC operating system.
- The China Telecom conference will take place at the Wyndham Hotel in Washington D.C., Sept. 5-6. The conference will focus on opportunities for telecom companies in China and will address topics such as policy, data centers, wireless and optical communications. Executives from China Unicom, Qualcomm, Global Crossing, and Ji Tong Communications will make keynote speeches.
- The city of Irvine's chamber of commerce will host a tech conference called Commtech 2001 at the Marriott in Irvine, Calif., Sept. 5-6. The event includes exhibitors like Emulex, XO Communications, and Time Warner Telecom as well as panels on topics such as emerging technologies, information security, and international trade opportunities.
- IDG will present a conference on how to market and sell through company partnerships and alliances at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, Sept. 5-6.
- Chipmaking giant Intel will conduct its midquarter business update for the third quarter at 2:30 p.m. PDT on Sept. 6. When Intel announced its second-quarter earnings in July, the company said that it expects business to remain flat or improve slightly and predicted third-quarter revenue of $6.2 billion to $6.8 billion. The presentation will be Webcast.
- The Alberta/Finland 2001: Wireless Symposium takes place at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, Sept. 6. The conference will provide information to executives of companies looking to learn more about, or enter, the wireless market and provides the opportunity for Canadian and Finnish companies to show off their technologies. Executives from Nokia and Compaq Computer will make keynote speeches.
- Internet.com will host a breakfast forum starting at 8 a.m. PDT at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif., Sept. 6. The event will assess how the outsourcing of IT operations, storage and infrastructure at businesses is working.
- Sorrenton Networks makes optical communications equipment for telecommunications carriers. Per-share consensus estimate for the second fiscal quarter: loss of 61 cents.
- Caldera International will report results that include sales from its Linux software and the Unix operating-system products acquired from Santa Cruz Operations. No consensus estimates were available for the third fiscal quarter.
- The National Association of Purchasing Managers index tracks how many hard goods were bought by purchasing managers. The NAPM index is expected to fall to 43.2 percent in August from 43.6 percent during the previous month. Index values above 50 indicate an expanding economy, while values below 50 are indicative of contraction.
- Construction spending tabulates the dollar amount of newly completed building structures in a month as reported by the Commerce Department. Economists expect spending to stay unchanged for the month of July compared with June's drop of 0.7 percent.
- The labor department will release revised productivity figures for the second quarter. Productivity data refers to the quantity of goods and services produced relative to the amount of labor and capital used in the process and also offers a picture of the economy's efficiency. Economists expect this closely watched figure to be revised downwards to 2 percent growth for the second quarter compared with preliminary figures showing a 2.5 percent rise.
- Initial Claims refers to the number of people who file for unemployment benefits each week as reported by the Department of Labor. Claims will be reported for the week of Sept. 1. Analysts expect 395,000 people to seek jobless benefits for the week compared with the previous week's 399,000.
- The Non-manufacturing NAPM index, also called the services index, tracks how many hard goods were bought monthly by purchasing managers in the services industry. Wall Street expects the index to rise to 49.1 in August from 48.9 in July.
- The Unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed adults, as estimated monthly by the Labor Department. This number is expected to rise to 4.6 percent for August from 4.5 percent in July.
- Hourly earnings is the percentage change in hourly earnings in the private sector as estimated monthly by the Labor Department. This number is expected to rise 0.3 percent for August, the same increase as July.
- Nonfarm Payrolls represents the change in total nonfarm employment. This number is expected to fall by 50,000 jobs in August compared with last month's drop of 42,000.
- Average workweek is the average amount of hours worked per week in the private sector, as estimated monthly by the Labor Department. Economists expect hours worked to be unchanged at 34.2 hours in August vs. July.
- Wholesale Inventories represents the percentage change in the amount of goods in wholesale inventories in the United States. Wall Street expects inventories to fall 0.2 percent in August, the same drop as July.