NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The first week of each month is always the most packed with economic reports, with the all-important non-farm payroll data.

Typically, this report comes out on Friday, but it will be released on Thursday as U.S. markets will be closed on July 3 in observance of Independence Day. Traders, economists and policy makers pay particular attention to the report because the employment data give the most comprehensive report on how many people are looking for jobs, how many have them, what they're getting paid and how many hours they are working. The numbers are the best way to gauge the current state as well as the future direction of the economy.

The employment statistics also provide insight on wage trends, and wage inflation is high on the list of opponents of easy-monetary policy.

TheStreet's Jill Malandrino and Mike Khouw point out other key data include the ADP employment report, jobless claims, pending home sales, S&P Case-Shiller housing index, motor-vehicle sales, same-store sales, manufacturing and non-manufacturing purchasing managers' indexes (PMI), the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) report and construction spending.

Housing data are important because they indicate economic strength and consumer confidence.

The earnings calendar remain light and will remain so until the middle of July when the next earnings season kicks into high gear, but some companies are reporting that will drive headlines.

On Tuesday, ConAgra Foods (CAG) will report. Activist investor Jana Partners has taken a 7.2% stake in the company. General Mills (GIS), another turnaround story, is scheduled to release earnings on Wednesday, as is Constellation Brands (STZ).

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