May 15, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: Small Business Owners More Optimistic

  • The National Federation of Independent Business announced last week that its index of small business optimism fell 0.2 percentage points last week but was still near its historical high. The NFIB noted, “April was the sixth straight month for historically high optimism, a hot streak not seen since 1983.” More small business owners said that they plan to increase inventories and expect the economy to continue to improve.
  • According to the U.S. Labor Department, 236,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended May 6, from 238,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose, meanwhile, while the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits fell to 1.918 million during the week that ended April 29 from 1.979 million the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell.
  • In other employment news: there was 5.7 million jobs open in the United States at the end of March 2017.
  • In other economic news: the U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent between March 2017 and April 2017 and 2.2 percent between April 2016 and April 2017; the U.S. Producer Price Index rose 0.5 percent for the month and 2.5 percent year-over-year; U.S. import prices increased 0.5 percent between March and April while export prices rose just 0.2 percent; and real hourly average earnings in the United States increased 0.1 percent in April and were up 0.4 percent from a year earlier.