September 17, 2018

U.S. Small Business Optimism At Record High


  • The National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index jumped to 108.8 in August, breaking a record that was set in 1985. According to the NFIB, small business owners’ plans to add new jobs set a new record and the number saying it is a good time to expand tied the May 2018 all-time high. Inventory investment plans were the strongest since 2005 and capital spending plans the highest since 2007.
  • U.S. industrial production increased 0.4 percent between July and August 2018. Manufacturing output improved 0.2 percent; utilities’ production increased 1.2 percent; and mining output expanded 0.7 percent. Overall industrial production rose 4.9 percent between August 2017 and August 2018.
  • According to the U.S. Labor Department, there were 9 million jobs open in the United States at the end of July, a record high. In other employment-related news: the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits fell to 204,000 for the week that ended Sept. 8, its lowest level since December 1969 and down from 205,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell and also is at its lowest level since December 1969. The number of individuals who continued to receive unemployment benefits fell to 1.696 million during the week that ended Sept. 1, its lowest level since December 1973 and down from 1.711 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continue claims also declined and is at its lowest level since 1973.
  • In other economic news: U.S. manufacturing and trade salesincreased 0.2 percent from June to July 2018 and 8.1 percent from July 2017 to July 2018 while inventories rose 0.6 percent for the month and 4.3 percent for the year; the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.2 percent for the month of August and 2.7 percent year-over-year; the U.S. producer price index (PPI) fell 0.1 percent in August, but was up 2.8 percent from a year earlier; and U.S. import prices dropped 0.6 percent while imports prices fell 0.1 percent.