The unemployment rate hit 9.8% in September, the Labor Department reported last week, prompting concern not only that the weak recovery may be a jobless one, but also speculation that the rate will continue to go higher. One of those speculating was former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan on television; he said he expects 3% growth in the third quarter of 2009 but that unemployment would hit 10%.
In Istanbul, where the G7 meeting over the weekend preceded the International Monetary Fund meeting of this week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner issued a statement saying that the recovery was "fragile," and that "while global growth is forecast to accelerate in 2010, output gaps will persist, unemployment may rise further, and downside risks remain."
This week brings the Federal Reserve's August consumer credit report on October 7; September retail sales for major chain stores on October 8, which are expected to cast a predictive light on 2009 holiday sales--the consensus outlook is not rosy; initial jobless claims on October 8; and on October 9 the BEA's trade deficit numbers--it's expected to widen to $33 billion from $32 billion in July.
The current Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech on the evening of October 8 at the FRB's Key Developments in Monetary Economics conference in Washington.
In Congress, in addition to the Senate Finance Committee, which is expected to vote on its healthcare reform bill, the House Financial Services committee takes up capital markets regulatory reform on October 6, and on the 7th the same Committee resumes testimony on reforming the OTC derivative market.
In the Senate, on October 7 the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs subcommittee on securities, insurance and investment will hold hearings on the securitization of assets.