Are we headed further toward an economic slowdown?

The December

employment report

, which is due out before the bell today, should provide some answers.

The employment report should shed some light on the Fed's unexpected decision to cut interest rates on Wednesday. The data -- which includes non-farm payrolls, the unemployment rate, the average workweek and average hourly earnings -- are considered the best measure of the overall health of the economy and will set the tone for other indicators that will be released this month. Look for it to weigh in heavily on today's trading session.

New home sales for November is also due out today. It is considered a good gauge of near-term spending on housing and of consumer spending as a whole.

In other news, the quiet period for recent IPO

Genvec

(GNVC)

expires.

Economic Data

(

Forecasts are from

Reuters

. Times are Eastern. For a longer-term economic calendar and more, see

TSC's

Economic Databank.

)

8:30 a.m.:

Nonfarm payrolls for December. Source:

Labor Department. Forecast: 102,00. Previous: 94,000.

8:30 a.m.:

Avearge hourly earnings. Source:

Labor Department. Forecast: +0.3%. Previous: +0.4%.

8:30 a.m.:

Unemployment rate. Source:

Labor Department. Forecast: 4.1%. Previous: 4.0%.

8:30 a.m.:

Augmented unemployment rate. Source:

Labor Department. Forecast: n.a.. Previous: 6.9%.

8:30 a.m.:

Pool of available workers. Source:

Labor Department. Forecast: n.a.. Previous: 10.001M.

10 a.m.:

New home sales. Source:

Census Bureau. Forecast: 913,000. Previous: 928,000.

IPO Quiet Periods Expiring

(TheStreet.com's

Ben Holmes, who heads

TSC's

ipoPros.com subsidiary, keeps a close eye on quiet period expirations every week. For more on quiet periods and why they matter, check out Holmes' primer on the subject. The full current quiet period list is published separately. For information on IPO pricings, filings and aftermarket activity, plus a calendar of upcoming IPOs, check out

TheStreet.com's

IPO data section.

)

Quiet Period End

Deal Name

Symbol

Lead Underwriter

1/5/01

Genvec

(GNVC:Nasdaq)

J.P. Morgan