While the week beginning February 27 includes the first Friday of the month on March 3, that day isn’t an Employment Friday. The employment situation for February won’t be released until Friday, March 10. The February survey reference period ended Saturday, February 18. It takes three weeks to prepare the report.

The wait for scheduling Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s semiannual monetary policy testimony continues. Normally this takes place around mid- to late February. However, it appears that finding the right dates is a challenge for the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee amid all the other business before Congress. Usually, the release of the late January/early February FOMC meeting minutes gives a pretty clear idea of the message the Chair will give in prepared remarks. However, there have been a handful of important pieces of economic data released in the interim that Powell will have to take into account. The longer it is before he testifies, the less relevant the content of the minutes. Most notable was the strong January employment report, robust retail and food services sales data for January, and CPI and PPI reports that indicated inflation is not yielding to restrictive monetary policy as much and/or as quickly as hoped. We now have the PCE deflator for January which suggests improvement in inflation has stalled.

Probably the most interesting data in the coming week will be the February ISM manufacturing index at 10:00 ET on Wednesday and the ISM services index at 10:00 ET on Friday. These two reports should illuminate whether the downturn visible in January’s reports improved or if activity in the two sectors continued to weaken.

So far the regional numbers for the factory sector in the New York, Philadelphia, and Kansas City Fed districts are on net pointing to improvement, but still weak conditions in January. The Dallas Fed will release its manufacturing survey at 10:30 ET on Monday. The Richmond Fed’s will be 10:00 ET on Tuesday.

Regional indexes for the service sector from New York, Philadelphia, and Kansas City are all decidedly more positive for February. Two out of three show a return to expansion that suggests demand for services is returning. The Richmond Fed services survey will be released at 10:00 ET on Tuesday, and the Dallas Fed’s report at 10:30 ET the same day.

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