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economic outlook Archives - Shopfloor

NFIB: Small Business Optimism Not Far from the Record High Seen in July 1983

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The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that the Small Business Optimism Index jumped from 103.8 in October to 107.5 in November. This was the highest level since the monthly series began in 1986 and was not far from the record high seen in July 1983 (108.0). Note that readings above 100 are consistent with strong growth among small business owners, and the robust data seen for much of the past year would suggest a healthy outlook overall in the economy. Through the first 11 months of 2017, the headline index has averaged 104.8, up from 94.3 in the same time frame in 2016. In addition, the percentage of respondents suggesting that the next three months would be a “good time to expand” rose from 23 percent to 27 percent, and the net percentage feeling that sales would be higher over the next three months increased from 21 percent to 34 percent. Each of these figures are at their highest levels since the Great Recession. Read More

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity in November Pulled Back Somewhat but “Remained Solid”

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity pulled back somewhat in November but “remained solid,” according to the latest survey data. The composite index of general business conditions declined from 23 in October, a level not seen since March 2011, to 16 in November. Even with some easing, manufacturers in the district are more upbeat today than one year ago, when the headline index was zero. In November, most of the key measures softened a little, while continuing to indicate healthy expansions overall. This included new orders (down from 27 to 22), production (down from 20 to 15), shipments (down from 25 to 20), employment (down from 21 to 16) and the average workweek (down from 12 to 7). On the hiring front, the sample comments once again cited challenges in attracting talent. In terms of downsides in the current data, exports (down from 8 to -2) contracted for the first time in four months, and raw material prices (down from 25 to 24) remained elevated. Read More

New York Fed: Manufacturing Activity Pulled Back from a Three-Year High but Remained Strong

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Manufacturing activity in the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s district pulled back in November from October’s 3-year high but remained strong. In the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the composite index of general business conditions declined from 30.2 in October, a pace not seen since September 2014, to 19.4 in November. The underlying indicators were somewhat mixed. On the positive side, new orders (up from 18.0 to 20.7) accelerated, which was encouraging. The percentage of respondents saying that sales had increased in the month rose from 32.3 percent in October to 40.7 percent in November, which was more than enough to offset the gain in those suggesting reduced orders, up from 14.3 percent to 20.0 percent. Shipments (down from 27.5 to 18.4) and employment (down from 15.6 to 11.5) continued to expand at decent rates despite some easing, but unfilled orders (down from 2.3 to -4.6) and the average workweek (down from zero to -0.8) both turned slightly negative. Read More