NFIB Weekly News

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NFIB Weekly News Leading the News

SBET Shows Modest Improvement In February. (03/12/2019)

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index improved modestly in February, increasing to 101.7. Views about business conditions in the future improved, as well as perceptions of the current period as a good time to expand. The Uncertainty Index fell 1 point to 85, a small decline but still indicative of residual uncertainty from the government shutdown. NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said, “Small business owners are thankful to have the government shutdown in the rearview mirror but need more certainty about the future... Small businesses put their money where their expectations are as we’ve seen when they get tax and regulatory relief. The best thing Washington can do for the small business half of the economy is to continue the policies – tax cuts and deregulation – that leave them with more resources to invest and find qualified workers.”

Business Climate

Media Sees Warning In Jobs Report But Also Points To Wage Growth. (03/12/2019)

“Hiring tumbled in February, with US employers adding just 20,000 jobs, the smallest monthly gain in nearly a year and a half,” the AP (3/8, Rugaber) reported, but the result “came after employers had added a blockbuster 311,000 jobs in January.” Also, the report “included several positive signs” with a 3.4 percent increase in average hourly pay “the sharpest year-over-year increase in a decade,” and unemployment fell to 3.8 percent “near the lowest level in five decades.” Still, added the AP, there are “signs that U.S. economic growth is slowing” pointing to “a weaker global economy, a trade war between the United States and China and signs of caution among American consumers.”

Small Business Marketing

SCORE Mentor Discusses Small Business Cash Flow. (03/12/2019)

Certified SCORE mentor Dean Swanson wrote in his Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin (3/6) column, “If there is one financial challenge that small business owners should master, it’s cash flow. Your business could have strong sales, healthy profit margins and a growing customer base – but a negative cash flow could sink you. More than 80 percent of failed small businesses experience cash flow problems.” Swanson offered “suggestions on how to maximize your monthly cash flow,” and wrote that SBA loans “often come with more stipulations than bank loans. However, the terms of these loans are generally favorable to small business owners.”

Wages and Benefits

National Restaurant Association Opposed Bill To Raise Federal Minimum Wage. (03/12/2019)

Restaurant Dive (3/7, Kelso) reported, “The National Restaurant Association came out against H.R. 582, or the ‘Raise the Wage Act’,” which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next five years. The NRA argues that “the bill would suppress new job creation in the restaurant industry” and “impose undue harm on small business owners.” However, “the tide on this issue is clearly changing,” with voters in deep red states like Arkansas and Missouri approving increases. However, “as restaurant operators continuously navigate headwinds like food and technology costs, labor is the number one cost for restaurants.” Still, the main concerns from when the push for a $15 an hour minimum wage began in 2012, – “mass closures and position eliminations – haven’t really materialized,” as restaurants “figured out how to better navigate added labor pressures, incorporating efficient technologies, trimming bloated G&A expenses, refranchising and for some, increasing some menu pricing.”