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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.”
The AP (10/2, Crutsinger, Leblanc) reported Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said yesterday that “the combination of steady, low inflation and very low unemployment shows the country is going through ‘extraordinary times.’” The AP reported Powell “noted in his speech that the unemployment rate stands near a 20-year low of 3.9 percent, while inflation has risen close to the Fed’s 2 percent target for annual increases in inflation.” Powell acknowledged that the current data “runs counter to an economic theory known as the ‘Phillips curve,’ which argues that low unemployment forces employers to push up wages to compete for scarce workers, triggering more inflation.”
The Wall Street Journal (10/4, Mims, Subscription Publication) reported that there is an explosion of microbrands popping up across the Internet, and their boom is propelling supporting companies like Amazon Prime, Shopify, Lumi, and UPS. These brands outsource more material than their predecessors, relying on cheap goods overseas to propel their profits in the online space.
The Hill (10/5, Hellmann) reported on a brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Friday found “insurers in the individual market performed better financially in the first six months of 2018 than they have in all of the years of the Affordable Care Act.” The Hill added the brief “shows insurers returning to the levels of profitability seen before the passage of the ACA, but notes recent actions from the Trump administration ‘cloud expectations for the future.’”