NFIB Weekly News
Leading the News
October SBET Continues Two Year-Long Record Optimism Streak.
The Small Business Optimism Index’s (11/13) reading of 107.4 for October indicates that small business optimism has continued a two-year record high streak. NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan is quoted saying, “The October optimism index further validates that when small businesses get tax relief and are freed from regulatory shackles, they thrive and the whole economy prospers.” NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg is quoted saying, “October’s report sets the stage for solid economic and employment growth in the fourth quarter, while inflation and interest rates remain historically tame. Small businesses are moving the economy forward.”
Payrolls Continue To Rise, Wages Growing By Most In A Decade. Business Climate
Reuters (10/31, Mutikani) said the ADP national employment report shows that “US private sector payrolls increased by the most in eight months in October.” According to Reuters, “The strong jobs market is gradually putting upward pressure on compensation, with other data on Wednesday showing a solid increase in labor costs in the third quarter.” Reuters added that the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index report “showed wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of employment costs, jumped 0.9 percent in the third quarter after climbing 0.5 percent in the prior period.”
SBA Administrator Notes NFIB Research In Wyoming Visit.
KPVI-TV Idaho Falls, ID (10/23) reported Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahon visited Casper, Wyoming, “where she spent the day touring local businesses and a regional training center for the Wyoming Contractor’s Association to better understand the atmosphere for business owners and entrepreneurs in the Equality State.” McMahon commented on increased entrepreneur and consumer confidence, saying, “the NFIB (The National Federation of Independent Business) has indicated their research shows the level of optimism for small business is at its highest level in decades for businesses to start — and also in consumer confidence index, which means that people have more money in their pockets and are willing to spend more on goods and services. I think part of that is because of the tax cuts — and I think it’s a great optimistic environment and a great time to start a business in this country.”
Job Openings Rise To Record High.
Reuters (10/16, Mutikani) reported, “US job openings jumped to a record high in August, far outpacing a rise in hiring, suggesting that companies could be increasingly having difficulties finding qualified workers.” The Labor Department “said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report on Tuesday that there were 7.14 million unfilled positions in the economy in August,” which is “the highest level since the series started in 2000 and compared to 7.08 million vacancies in July.”
The Hill (10/16, Keller) reported, “the open jobs outnumbered unemployed Americans actively searching for work by 902,000 in August, which is the largest difference recorded,” and the Washington Post (10/16, Long) that “the nation now has more than one job opening for every unemployed person, a dramatic turnaround from the Great Recession, when there were more than six unemployed people for every job on offer.” Mary Daly, President of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, said in a speech yesterday, “The labor market is booming. It’s beyond almost anyone’s measure of full employment.”
Dollar Strengthens On Optimism About US Economy.
Reuters (10/12, Finn) reported that the dollar rose last Friday, “reflecting investor confidence in the U.S. economy, despite criticism by President Donald Trump of the Federal Reserve and a sell-off in U.S. equities.” The dollar index held at 95, while the euro rose against the dollar to “a weekly high at 1.1611 after minutes of the last European Central Bank meeting set a positive tone.” The yen “traded at 112.34 on Friday. It had strengthened to 111.83 versus the dollar on Thursday, its highest since Sept. 18.”
Small Business Optimism Index Continues Historic Positive Trend In September.
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for Septmber was the third-highest in the survey’s 45-year history, continuing a historic 23-month positive trend. NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said the index is “evidence that tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks are paying off for the economy as a whole. ... Our members say that business is booming and prospects continue to look bright.” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said, “With profits and investment remaining strong, our hope is that policymakers will stay the course and not screw around with success.”
House Democrats, Republicans Set Up For Showdown On Tax Cut Reversal.
The Wall Street Journal (11/9, Rubin, Subscription Publication) reported House Democrats will try to reverse part of the 2017 tax cuts when they take control of the majority next year, in a fight that may spill over into other bipartisan deals including a proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Democrats have suggested rolling back corporate and high-income tax cuts to fund the plan, and have floated raising the gasoline tax. However, Republican control of the Senate and White House should enable them to block Democrat proposals, making it unlikely their efforts will be successful on anything that isn’t must-pass, deadline-driven legislation.
Fed Keeps Rates Unchanged, Signals December Hike Amid Strong Economic Data. Small Business Marketing
USA Today (11/8, Davidson) reported, “With the economy sailing along, another interest rate hike is almost certainly in the cards next month.” The Federal Reserve “held its key short-term rate steady Thursday but maintained its upbeat view of the economy, setting the stage for a fourth rate increase in 2018 at its Dec. 18-19 meeting.”
The New York Times (11/8, Appelbaum) said, “the economy continues to grow at what the Fed called a ‘strong rate,’ expanding at an annual pace of 3.5 percent in the third quarter. And employers added 250,000 jobs in October, dropping the unemployment rate to 3.7 percent.”
Reuters (11/8, Schneider, Lange) reported the Fed’s statement “overall reflected little change in the Fed’s outlook for the economy since its last policy meeting in September. Inflation remained near its 2 percent target, unemployment fell, and risks to the economic outlook were still felt to be ‘roughly balanced.’”
Job Openings Fall In September But Still Exceed Number Of Unemployed.
CNBC (11/6) reported the number of jobs posted by employers fell slightly in September but still exceeded the total number of Americans looking for work, the Labor Department said. Job openings fell “4 percent to roughly 7 million, still close to the highest levels on records dating to December 2000. The number of openings far exceeded the roughly 6 million people who were unemployed in September.”
US On Pace To Spend More On Debt Than Defense By 2023.
The Wall Street Journal (11/11, Davidson, Kruger, Subscription Publication) reported that rising interest rates have put the government on pace to spend more on interest than it spends on Medicaid in 2020, than it spends on national defense in 2023, and than it spends on all nondefense discretionary programs combined in 2025.
Wall Street Journal Analyzes Potential Impact Of Midterms On Economic Policy.
The Wall Street Journal (11/4, Dawson, Subscription Publication) examined how the results of this week’s elections could affect federal policy on a range of issues including agriculture, deregulation, infrastructure, taxes, and trade. The Journal wrote that Democratic House control would inhibit Trump Administration efforts in these areas, and would also result in stepped-up oversight of business and industries including energy and finance.
US Consumer Confidence Rises To 18-Year High.
Reuters (10/30, Mutikani) reported, “US consumer confidence rose to an 18-year high in October, driven largely by a robust labor market, bolstering expectations that strong economic growth would continue through early 2019.” The Conference Board “said its consumer confidence index reading rose to 137.9 this month, the highest since September 2000, from a downwardly revised 135.3 in September.” Economists polled by Reuters “had forecast the consumer index slipping to 136.0 from the previously reported 138.4 in September.”
Opinion: 30 Ways To Build A Marketing Presence
Writing at Business 2 Community (11/10) James Scherer of Wishpond highlighted some of the marketing techniques he found useful in driving rapid growth. Scherer gave readers 30 separate tactics to work on that he thought would be new to many marketers and “be the most reliable for growing a business.” Among the topics Scherer noted were to; join active communities of other marketers; send micro-influencers an Instagram DM; stand for something; find and repost user-generated content;communicate easily with followers; and run a co-promotion with a business similar to yours, among other topics.
Report: Veteran-Owned Businesses Face U.S. Financing Gap. Wages and Benefits
According to Reuters (11/8, Reuters), a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the U.S. Small Business Administration found that veteran-owned businesses, which usually have smaller sales and fewer employees, face greater difficulty than others in accessing credit from lenders. Veterans were more likely in 2017 to say they get less funding than sought, including lower approval rates at popular lenders. Over time, “they have also seen slower relative growth in government-guaranteed loans.” The authors said discrepancies could be explained by three things: vets generally sought smaller loan amounts, had higher credit risk, and lacked information on how to go about it.
T-Mobile Launches Business Help Desk For Small Business Customers.
eWeek (11/3, Rash) reported T-Mobile is offering a new service, called T-Mobile for Business Help Desk, which offers IT support “for T-Mobile business customers with T-Mobile One voice service.” T-Mobile “staff can help with most routine business problems, including help with configuration and installation and dealing with unexpected errors including problems with antivirus software.” T-Mobile SVP Mike Katz said, “We started this with the customer groups that we felt had the greatest need for this service. ... We wanted a service that allows them to keep running their business.”
LiveRamp Charting A Path To $1B Run Rate As Data ID Middleman.
Two media outlets mark the beginning of LiveRamp trading on the New York Stock Exchange after it divested itself of its parent brand and data business Acxiom Marketing Solutions to IPG. Ad Exchanger (10/30, Hercher) reports LiveRamp is planning for “a $1 billion run rate in the next five years” as it positions itself as middleware that connects its data marketplace with brands that need to target their ads at the same time LiveRamp is building a robust identity graph, IdentityLink, which it also white-labels. Ad Exchanger says LiveRamp’s business model “explains why Acxiom could trade at $2.5 billion earlier this year, sell off the business driving five-sixths of its revenue and now see LiveRamp trading at more than $3.5 billion.”
Mailchimp Launches Redesigned Website, New Ad Campaign.
AdWeek (10/26, Coffee) reports that Mailchimp has launched a redesigned website and a campaign called “More Than Mail” with R/GA that is designed to show that its services now include “everything from custom landing pages, postcards and ad campaigns to audience management.” The campaign includes “digital video” as well as “out of home, print, social and audio components as well as a full-length essay in The New Yorker.” Mailchimp also continues to work with Droga5.
Forrester Makes Five Predictions About B2B Marketers For 2019.
Contributor John Ellett, CEO of a digital agency, posts at Forbes (10/25) about Forrester Research’s predictions for how martech will affect B2B marketing in 2019. Forrester found five areas of impact, including marketers choosing customer data platforms (CDPs) over data lakes and incorporating more artificial intelligence into their tools to improve personalization and contextual marketing across channels “at scale.” Forrester also predicts that about a third of marketers will build account-based marketing (ABM) programs on top of their marketing automation platforms (MAPs), “such as Eloqua, Marketo and Pardot,” which “will evolve to incorporate much of the functionality found in today’s stand-alone ABM tools.” Forrester also sees Salesforce consolidating partner marketing programs for demand generation, and more use of platforms such as G2 Crowd and TrustRadius for Yelp-like reviews for B2B products and services.
WSJournal Analysis: Midterms Strengthened ACA Across The US.
The Wall Street Journal (11/8, Armour, Subscription Publication) looked at how this week’s elections changed healthcare policy across the country. In addition to Medicaid expansion passing in three conservative states – Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah – Democrats who campaigned on Affordable Care Act-related issues won gubernatorial and House races in many states, strengthening the position of the law.
St. Paul Expected To Adopt $15 Minimum Hourly Wage This Week.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune (11/11, Nelson) reported the St. Paul, Minnesota City Council “is expected to follow in Minneapolis’ footsteps Wednesday and approve a citywide $15 minimum wage without an exemption for tipped workers.” The city estimated that “more than 56,000 St. Paul workers will get a raise as a result of the ordinance.”
Kudlow Says He Opposes Federal Minimum Wage And Attempts To Raise It.
The Washington Post (11/1, Stein) reported that NEC Director Larry Kudlow said he “opposes the federal minimum wage, arguing that the decades-old law is a ‘terrible idea’ that drives up costs for small businesses across the country,” and “said that he would oppose any attempt to work with Democrats in Congress to lift the federal minimum wage should the party take back the House or Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.” According to the Post, Kudlow “appeared to also oppose minimum wages at the state and local levels, citing conservative arguments that it constrains business growth by adding to their costs. But he said the federal government shouldn’t interfere.” The Hill (11/1, Elis) reported, meanwhile, that “Democrats have pushed for increasing the federal minimum wage to as much as $15 an hour, over double its current rate of $7.25.”
WSJournal Praises Administration’s Healthcare Policy.
The Wall Street Journal (11/4, Subscription Publication), editorialized in favor of the Trump Administration’s healthcare reforms arguing that they will benefit consumers. It defended a rule regarding health-reimbursement arrangements allowing companies to offer tax-free money to employees to buy health insurance on the ACA health exchanges. In general, the Journal approved of what it sees as the Administration’s effort to increase consumer choice in the health insurance market, though it repeats a call for repealing the ACA altogether.
Small Businesses Offer Incentives To Compete With Amazon In Hiring Seasonal Help.
The AP (10/31, Rosenberg) reported American Rhino owner Chris Welles is “paying seasonal employees more than last year and offering sports and theater tickets to persuade people to work at his stores rather than at giants like Amazon.” American Rhino is one of the small businesses “competing with big companies including Amazon, retail chains and delivery services that hire thousands of workers for the holidays.” It is expected that Amazon, FedEx, Target, and UPS alone will hire about 350,000 people, and “Amazon will begin paying its seasonal and permanent staffers a minimum $15 an hour as of Thursday, putting pressure on other employers including small businesses that may not be able to match that amount.”
Democrats Focus On Healthcare In Midterms’ Closing Argument.
The New York Times (10/28, Gabriel) reported that after “years of running as far as they could” from President Obama’s healthcare law, “vulnerable Senate Democrats in Florida, West Virginia and other political battlegrounds have increasingly focused their closing argument” in this year’s midterm elections “on a single issue: saving the Affordable Care Act. Now, with Republicans desperate to reposition themselves and come up with their own health care pitch, and with the elections roiled by gale-force winds on immigration and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, the question is whether health care will be enough.”