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THE WEEK AHEAD

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This is a very quiet week for UK data releases, so the focus will be on what is happening in other countries, espec...
This is a very quiet week for UK data releases, so the focus will be on what is happening in other countries, especially the United States and Japan.

In the United States recent data on economic activity has been mixed, as might be expected when the economy is going through a period of weaker growth, and economists are looking closely at every data release to ascertain whether or not growth is picking up momentum.

The employment data released on Friday are judged to be one of the best indicators in this respect. The trend rate of growth in non-farm payrolls has slowed significantly in 1995, giving a very good indication of the weakness of overall economic output growth.

The latest figures, including the rise of just 55,000 in July, suggest economic growth has not yet recovered, and the market's forecast of a rise around 164,000 in August is based on a belief that output will grow more rapidly in the remainder of 1995 than it has in recent months.

In Japan, the outlook for consumer spending is judged to be crucial to whether or not the economy finally recovers from the period of weak economic growth that has now lasted for four years. Since declining job security is one of the key factors holding back the consumer, next week's unemployment number is an important indicator.
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