This Week: Job openings, Delta earns, retail sales

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week:

EYE ON JOBS

A new Labor Department survey of job openings should provide insight into employers’ need for new hires.

The November Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, is due out Tuesday. The survey provides figures for overall hiring, as well as the number of quits and layoffs. U.S. employers advertised slightly more job openings in October, but hiring slipped as a resurgence of COVID-19 threatens the economic recovery. Meanwhile, the number of Americans fired or laid off rose for the first time since June.

JOLTS job openings, in millions, by month:

May 5.37

June 6.00

July 6.70

Aug. 6.35

Sept. 6.49

Oct. 6.65

Source: FactSet

PERSISTENT TURBULENCE

Wall Street expects Delta Air Lines closed out 2020 with another dismal quarterly report card.

Airline industry bookings have been deeply depressed since last March as businesses and individuals canceled or indefinitely put off air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Delta reported a quarterly loss and sharply lower revenue for the first three months of last year. Analysts predict the airline’s fourth-quarter results, due out Thursday, will show more of the same.

SIZING UP RETAIL SALES

The Commerce Department serves up its December tally of U.S. retail sales Friday.

Retail sales fell 1.1% in November, their biggest decline in seven months. That marked a downbeat start for the all-important November-December holiday shopping season, which typically accounts for a quarter or more of a retailer’s annual sales. Economists predict retail sales also fell in December, but by a far smaller 0.1%.

Retail sales, monthly percent change, seasonally adjusted:

July 1.1

Aug. 1.4

Sept. 1.7

Oct. -0.1

Nov. -1.1

Dec. (est.) -0.1

Source: FactSet

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