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September 16, 2019

Small Businesses Head Into Fall In Slightly More Pessimistic Mood

 

  • In August, the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.6 points to 103.1. While the reading remained within the top 15 percent of readings, optimism slipped because fewer owners said they expect better business conditions and real sales volumes in the coming months. Job creation accelerated, however, positive earnings trends improved and quarter-on-quarter sales gains remained strong.
  • U.S. import prices decreased 0.5 percent in August after rising 0.1 percent the previous month. The August decline was driven by a drop in fuel prices; prices for nonfuel goods were unchanged. Prices for U.S. exports fell 0.6 percent in August following a 0.2 percent increase in July.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all U.S. employees increased 0.4 percent from July 2019 to August 2019 and 1.5 percent from August 2018 to August 2019. Real average weekly earnings increased 0.6 percent over the month.
  • The U.S. Producer Price Index increased 0.1 percent from July 2019 to August 2019 and 1.8 percent from August 2018 to August 2019.
  • The Consumer Price Index in the United States rose 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in July. Over the last 12 months, the CPI increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.
  • According to the U.S. Labor Department, 204,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended September 7, down from 15,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell to 1.67 million for the week that ended August 31, down from 1.674 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also declined.