Week Ahead: Jobs and Data Fireworks

The markets will be closed Monday for the July 4th holiday, but for investors the real fireworks won't come until Friday when the June labor numbers are released.

The data will be preceded on Thursday by ADP's monthly employment report, which last month forecast a significant reversal in what had looked to be a resurgent U.S. job market.

When ADP's numbers came in last month well below what analysts had predicted, many influential forecasters revised their numbers downward to address the disparity.

The revisions proved necessary when the May government report came in a few days later shockingly lower than had been earlier predicted. The U.S. had added just 54,000 non-farm jobs and the unemployment rate jumped back up over 9%.

The June data should give economists notably those at the Federal Reserve Board a better idea of whether the economic recovery has hit a temporary rough spot or whether there are long-term systemic problems.

The Fed has been reluctant to shift its policy strategies as the economic data has taken a recent turn for the worse. Fed policy makers have argued that the downturn is transitory, or brought on by temporary circumstances including political upheaval in the Middle East and a spate of extraordinary weather events, including the March tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

Economists are predicting just fewer than 100,000 new jobs in June and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 9.1%.

Jobs will be the big story next week, but other data will also be watched closely.

June same-store-sales comparisons are due Thursday. The prediction is that consumers have continued to flock to discount retailers such as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) but that the overall numbers will continue a declining trend that began during the spring. With unemployment stubbornly high and incomes stagnant, consumers are looking for values or not shopping at all.

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for June is due on Wednesday, numbers that could pick up due to a decline in gas prices.

May factory orders are due on Tuesday. Manufacturing had been a lone economic bright spot for months but that changed recently when the numbers unexpectedly fell. The decline was blamed by many on supply chain disruptions due to severe weather around the U.S. but particularly in the Midwest.

Wholesale inventory numbers for May are due on Friday.

The following week marks the beginning of second-quarter earnings.