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January 17, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: Small Businesses Much More Optimistic

  • The National Federation of Independent Business’s index of small business optimism “skyrocketed” in December, rising 7.4 points from its November reading. The improvement was due to the fact that more small employers plan to hire new employees and make additional capital outlays in the coming year. Small business owners also said they are feeling much more optimistic about the economy in general.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits increased to 247,000 for the week that ended January 7 from 237,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims fell, however, as did the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits. That figure declined to 2.087 million for the week that ended December 31 from 2.116 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims increased to nearly 2.087 million from about 2.07 million.
  • In other economic news: there were 5.5 jobs available in the United States at the end of November; U.S. import prices increased 0.4 percent from November to December while export prices rose 0.3 percent; and the U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) increased 0.3 percent from November to December. The PPI rose 1.6 percent for all of 2016.