WASHINGTON — New data on home sales and jobless claims should give a sense of the strength of the economic recovery. The biggest news this week will likely come later, with a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday followed Friday by new Federal Reserve gross domestic product data.
The National Association of Realtors on Tuesday releases data in the morning on the number of new homes sold in March. The figure serves as an approximation of Americans’ confidence to make a large purchase.
The number of new-home sales has decreased for the past two months, coming in at 313,000 in February. For March, analysts expect to see a slight increase. They predict that 318,000 new homes were sold last month.
The Census Bureau on Wednesday releases data on durable goods orders, which measure manufacturers’ orders for factory goods. After increasing by 2.2 percent in February, analysts are bracing for data to show a 1.7 percent decrease in March.
Also Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee issues its statement, followed by interest rate forecasts at 2 p.m. and then a press conference with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The Labor Department on Thursday releases its data on initial claims for unemployment, a key indicator of the state of the job market. Last week, Americans filed 386,000 new jobless claims, a number higher than analysts had expected and one that could indicate a slowdown in the economic expansion.
This week, analysts expect initial jobless claims to fall to 375,000.
On Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes final data on gross domestic product growth during the last quarter of 2011.
A preliminary estimate, released in March, found that the economy had grown 3 percent. Analysts forecast that the number will be revised downward to 2.5 percent on Friday.