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A more than eight-year low in jobless claims is the latest evidence that hiring is picking up, but whether companies are willing to spend is another matter.
Economists, therefore, are watching Friday's release of durable goods data for signs that business spending is picking up. Durable goods orders are expected to increase by a half percent in June after a 0.9 percent decline in the prior report, and the nondefense, ex-aircraft core is expected to rise about the same.
Read MoreMediocre US economy's missing link
"I do expect continued stronger numbers," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "We've been getting stronger numbers over the last couple of months, so I'm hopeful that businesses are more aggressively expanding operations."