Dec 11, 2019

Small business optimism survey shows a record jump

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Data: NFIB: Chart: Axios Visuals

Small business optimism posted the largest month-over-month gain since May 2018, rising to 104.7 in November.

The big picture: "Overall, this clearly is a positive report," Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson wrote in a note to clients.

  • "The headline index remains below its cycle peak, 108.8 in August last year, but that was supported by tax cuts and was not sustainable."

Yes, but: Sales expectations fell by 4 points to the lowest level in three years. "This might mean that firms recognized the impact of the August 1 announcement of tariffs on consumer goods was to pull forward spending into the late summer," Shepherdson added.

Of note: The surveys reflect the previous month's report.

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Economists shrug off downbeat November retail sales due to late Thanksgiving

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Wall Street shrugged in response to below-forecast consumer spending.

What's happening: Rather than interpret the data as a sign that the all-important consumer is losing steam, some are blaming November's figures on a calendar quirk — and keeping faith shoppers will continue to open up their wallets.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019

CEO optimism drops for 7th straight quarter

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A closely-watched index of CEO hiring, sales and spending plans declined again, according to a survey of some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. by Business Roundtable, their trade group.

Why it matters: The survey has shown declining optimism for almost two years. As we get closer to the 2020 election, the record-high CEO optimism levels that peaked during Trump’s presidency have now vanished — largely thanks to trade war uncertainty.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019

Report: Harvard business leaders pessimistic about the U.S. competing globally and improving workers' living standards

From Harvard Business School's report, "A Recovery Squandered: The State of U.S. Competitiveness 2019"

A key group of decision-makers has doubts about the United States' ability to compete globally while raising living standards for workers, according to Harvard Business School's new alumni survey on U.S. competitiveness.

Why it matters: The results reflect concerns that the economy's record-long expansion has not been spread broadly among all Americans — a sentiment with implications for the 2020 election.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019