The February jobs report will highlight next week’s economic data releases, while a decision on another Greek bailout is also on tap.
Because February is shorter than the other months, even in a leap year, the release of the government’s monthly jobs report is often delayed to the second Friday in March. Jobs reports are usually released on the first Friday of the month.
In any case, economists believe the numbers will show continued recovery in the U.S. labor markets. The unemployment rate, which has fallen sharply in recent months, is expected to hold steady at 8.3%.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires are expecting payrolls to have added 210,000 jobs last month, the third consecutive month of gains of 200,000 or more.
The improving jobs landscape has sent ripples through the rest of the economy, bumping higher personal incomes and consumer sentiment.
ADP’s job survey is due Tuesday. The report from the payroll company is often a good indication of how the government report will read a few days later.
Eurozone fiscal ministers are expected to make a final decision next week on whether they will release to Greece a $173 bailout package. In question is whether the money should be released before all of Greece’s private creditors agree to participate in a debt restructuring deal that will force them to take haircuts of as much as 50%.
Also due next week is a gauge of service sector productivity: the Institute for Supply Management will release its non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index on Monday. Economists believe the data will show growth in the sector.
Earnings reports are due from several bellwether retailers, including clothing stores Aeropostale (ARO) American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEO) Children's Place Retail Stores (NASDAQ:PLCE), Men's Wearhouse (MW) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS).
The GOP nomination will take center stage on Tuesday -- Super Tuesday in political parlance -- with primaries and caucuses in 10 states and more than 400 delegates at stake. Decisive wins in several key states by former Massachusetts Governor and current frontrunner Mitt Romney could seal the nomination for him.