Small Business Optimism Edges Slightly Higher in September
For the third straight month, the Small Business Optimism Index edged slightly higher, from 95.9 in August to 96.1 in September, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). But index values under 100 typically coincide with softer economic growth, demonstrating that small business owners remain anxious about the economy. The top “single most important problem” cited in the survey was a tie, at 22 percent, between government regulations and taxes. To learn more, visit here.
Retail Sales Remain Nearly Unchanged in September
Retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in September, improving only slightly from being unchanged in August, according to the Census Bureau. Motor vehicles and parts sales rebounded from a weaker August, as well as clothing and accessories, sporting goods and hobby stores, food services and drinking places and furniture and home furnishings. On a year-over-year basis, retail spending has improved from 1.3 percent in April to 2.4 percent in September, demonstrating very modest growth over the long term. To learn more, visit here.
New York Activity Contracts for Third Straight Month
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey reflected contracting levels of activity for the third consecutive month in October, with the pace of new orders, shipments and hiring each deteriorating. Additionally, inventories have fallen for four straight months. Despite the statistics, manufacturers in the New York Fed region continue to be mostly optimistic about the coming months, with 46.5 percent of survey respondents expecting to see higher sales in the next six months. To learn more, visit here.
Lower Energy Costs Cause Consumer Prices to Fall for Second Straight Month
The consumer price index fell 0.2 percent in September, extending the 0.1 percent decline seen in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decrease mainly reflects lower energy prices for the month, which were off by 4.7 percent, and down 29.6 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, food prices increased 0.4 percent in September and core consumer prices decreased by 0.3 percent. Core CPI has remained below 2 percent now for 31 straight months. To learn more, visit here.