- Weekly: **Unemployment Initial Claims Data have been revised**
- US: Housing Starts by State and Region (Feb)
- CPB World Trade Monitor (Jan)
- CPB World Trade Monitor (Jan)
- France: Registered Unemployed & Job Vacancies (Feb)
- US: Household Employment for States and Regions (Feb)
- US: Wholesale Trade Revisions, Advance Durable Goods (Feb)
- Manufacturing Survey - Markit US (Flash - Mar), Composite Survey - US (Flash - Mar), Services Survey - US (Flash - Mar)
- more updates...
Economy in Brief
Correction to Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims
The Department of Labor has issued a correction to yesterday's annual revision to seasonally adjusted weekly unemployment claims...
EMU PMIs Are Off to the Races...Farewell Mediocrity?
The PMI rankings for the manufacturing and service sector PMIs in the EMU are suddenly off the chart...
U.S. New Home Sales Improve While Prices Decline
Sales of new single-family homes increased 6.1% (12.8% y/y) during February to 592,000 units (AR)...
Kansas City Federal Reserve Factory Index Strengthens; Expectations Surge
The Kansas City Fed reported that its index of regional manufacturing sector business activity increased to 20 during March...
U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Rise
Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 258,000 (-3.0% y/y) during the week ended March 18...
U.K. Retail Looks Less Bulletproof
For the most part, the assessments embodied in the March survey from the UK's CBI are being taken as being upbeat...
by Tom Moeller March 14, 2017
The National Federation of Independent Business reported that its Small Business Optimism Index of 105.3 during February was down just slightly from January, but remained up 13.3% versus February 2016. It remained near the strongest level of optimism since December 2004.
Forty-seven percent of firms reported they were expecting the economy to improve, nearly the most since March 2002. Twenty-six percent of firms expected higher real sales in six months, up from 1% in October. Twenty-two percent of firms reported that now was a good time to expand the business, nearly the most since December 2004.
On the labor front, an easier 15% planned to increase employment. Finding employees was easier as 44% of firms indicated they had few or no qualified candidates to fill job openings, down from 52% just three months earlier. A lessened 26% percent of firms had to raise worker compensation, just off the expansion high of 30% in January. An easier 17% of firms planned to raise compensation in the next three months.
A lessened 26% of firms were planning to make capital outlays in the next 3-to-6 months. Three percent were planning to raise inventories, up from zero last year.
On the price inflation front, an easier 20% of businesses planned to raise average selling prices. Six percent of firms actually raised average selling prices last month versus none in 2016.
An increased 22% of firms indicated that taxes were the single most important problem, but a sharply lessened 15% reported that government requirements were the largest single problem, the least since 2011. A sharply higher 17% felt challenged by the quality of labor, and a slightly increased 12% of firms indicated that poor sales were the largest single problem. A higher 10% of firms reported insurance cost & availability as the largest hurdle. A higher 9% reported competition from large businesses as the largest problem, equaling the most of the expansion. An easier 5% felt that cost of labor was their largest single problem. Inflation as the largest problem was indicated by just 1% of respondents.
Roughly 24 million small businesses exist in the U.S. and they create 80% of all new jobs. The typical NFIB member employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000 a year. The NFIB figures can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.
|National Federation of Independent Business (SA, Net %)||Feb||Jan||Dec||Feb'16||2016||2015||2014|
|Small Business Optimism Index (1986=100)||105.3||105.9||105.8||92.9||95.3||96.1||95.6|
|Firms Expecting Economy To Improve||47||48||50||-21||-5||-5||-5|
|Firms Expecting Higher Real Sales||26||29||31||0||5||8||11|
|Firms Reporting Now is a Good Time To Expand the Business (% of Firms)||22||25||23||8||10||12||10|
|Firms Planning to Increase Employment||15||18||16||10||11||12||10|
|Firms With Few or No Qualified Applicants For Job Openings||44||47||44||42||46||46||43|
|Firms Reporting That Credit Was Harder To Get||4||5||6||5||5||4||6|
|Firms Raising Average Selling Prices||6||5||6||-4||0||2||8|
|Firms Raising Worker Compensation||26||30||26||22||24||23||21|