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10 Sept 2019 NFIB Capex Plans and Selling Prices Point to Trouble Ahead (Publication Centre)

The likely dip in the headline NFIB index of small business sentiment and activity today will tell us that business owners are unhappy and nervous about the potential impact of the latest China tariffs on their sales and profits.

13 June 2017 NFIB Headline Likely to Decay, but Capex and Jobs Readings are Strong (Publication Centre)

Under normal circumstances, we can predict movements in the headline NFIB index from shifts in the key labor market components, which are released a day ahead of the official employment report, and, hence, about 10 days before the full NFIB survey appears.

11 July 2017 Small Businesses are Still Optimistic, but a Correction is Due (Publication Centre)

Before last November's election, movements in the headline NFIB index of activity and sentiment among small businesses could be predicted quite reliably from shifts in the key labor market components, which are released in advance of the main survey.

13 September 2017 Hurricane Reconstruction and Clean-up will Lift PPI, but not Yet (Publication Centre)

The surge in gasoline prices triggered by refinery outages after Hurricane Harvey came much too late to push up the August PPI, but gas prices had risen before the storm so the headline PPI will be stronger than the core.

9 January 2018 Small Business Owners are Happy, so Why are Capex Plans Soft? (Publication Centre)

We already know that the month-to-month movements in the key labor market components of the December NFIB small business survey were mixed; the data were released last week, ahead the official employment report, as usual.

9 January 2019 Small Firms are Cutting their Capex Plans but Raising Prices (Publication Centre)

The only way to read the December NFIB survey and not be alarmed is to look at the headline, which fell by less than expected, and ignore the details.

13 February 2018 Unit Labor Costs are Key to Inflation Outlook (Publication Centre)

Jim Bullard, the St. Louis Fed president, said last week that Phillips Curve effects in the U.S. are "weak", and that nominal wage growth is not a good predictor of future inflation.

8 January 2019 Bifurcation Intensifying Services Outperforming as Industry Suffers (Publication Centre)

If you need more evidence that the U.S. economy is bifurcating, look at the spread between the ISM non- manufacturing and manufacturing indexes, which has risen to 3.5 points, the widest gap since September 2016.

10 May 2017 The Budget Deficit is Rising, even Before any Unfunded Tax Cuts (Publication Centre)

The CBO reckons that the April budget surplus jumped to about $179B, some $72B more than in the same month last year. This looks great, but alas all the apparent improvement reflects calendar distortions on the spending side of the accounts.

10 April 2018 Falling Stock Prices Threaten NFIB Headlines, Labor Data Strong (Publication Centre)

It's probably too soon to expect to see a meaningful reaction in the NFIB small business survey to the drop in stock prices, but it likely is coming, and a hit in today's March report can't be ruled out entirely.

11 September 2018 Business Owners Bullish, but Where's the Capex (Publication Centre)

If you had only the NFIB survey of small businesses as your guide to the state of the business sector, you'd be blissfully unaware that the economic commentariat right now is obsessed with the potential hit from the trade tariffs, actual and threatened.

10 July 2019 Powell to Stick to the Party Line. Will he Mention the Trimmed Mean PCE? (Publication Centre)

We'd be surprised to see any serious shift in the tone of Fed Chair Powell's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony today compared to the FOMC statement and press conference just three weeks ago.

10 May. 2016 Do Falling Earnings Signal a Rollover in Payroll Gains? (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the payroll report on Friday, several readers sent us a version of the chart reproduced below, showing the rates of growth of S&P earnings and private sector payrolls. The message from the chart appears to be that the current trend in payroll growth, a bit over 200K per month cannot be sustained.

14 July. 2015 Did Retail Sales Stutter In June after May's Strength? (Publication Centre)

We are a bit uneasy about today's data on economic activity. The NFIB index of activity in the small business sector is likely to undershoot consensus expectations, while retail sales are something of a black hole, at least at the core level, where we have no reliable month-to-month advance indicators. Our bullish view on the underlying state of the economy, and its likely second-half performance, hasn't changed, but perceptions count in the short-term and these reports will help set the market mood just ahead of Chair Yellen's Testimony tomorrow.

9 August. 2016 NFIB Survey Signals Better Non-Oil Business Capex as Soon as Q3 (Publication Centre)

The headline NFIB index of small business activity and sentiment in July likely will be little changed from June--we expect a half-point dip, while the consensus forecast is for a repeat of June's 94.5--but what we really care about is the capex intentions componen

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