By WSJ Staff
The new year kicks off with data on the U.S. labor market and minutes from the Federal Reserve, as well as an update on eurozone inflation.
WEDNESDAY: The Federal Reserve at 2 p.m. EST will release minutes from its Dec. 12-13 policy meeting, when officials voted to raise short-term interest rates for the third time in 2017. Two voting members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee opposed the move, and the minutes may show if other participants shared their concern about persistently soft inflation. The minutes also could shed light on how U.S. central bank officials saw the Republican tax overhaul affecting the economy in 2018 and beyond. "While changes in tax policy will likely provide some lift to economic activity in coming years, the magnitude and timing of the macroeconomic effects of any tax package remain uncertain," Chairwoman Janet Yellen told reporters following the meeting.
FRIDAY: Eurostat will release flash December inflation data for the eurozone. Annual price growth was 1.5% in November, ticking up from the prior month. The European Central Bank has been trying to boost inflation to its target of just under 2%, but despite expectations for a pickup in economic growth, "the news on inflation remains somewhat muted, " European Central Bank President Mario Draghi acknowledged in December.
The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. EST will release its December report on the U.S. labor market. The always closely watched jobs report will show year-end trends for hiring, unemployment and wage growth. As of November, the unemployment rate was holding at 4.1%, its lowest level in 17 years. Job gains were solid, though pay raises remained lackluster. Economists are expecting no change in the jobless rate and 180,000 new nonfarm jobs in December, with average hourly earnings set to rise 0.3% on the month.