NFIB Weekly News
NFIB Weekly News
Leading the News
Payrolls Continue To Rise, Wages Growing By Most In A Decade.
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. Business Climate
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.”
US House Of Representatives Passes Bill Making Tax Cuts Permanent.
The AP (9/28, Gordon) reported that Republicans “have sped legislation through the House to expand their massive new tax law” by approving a bill that “would make permanent the individual and small-business tax cuts in the law.” The AP reported House Democrats “continued their solid opposition to tax-cut legislation, asserting it favors corporations and wealthy individuals over middle-income Americans,” even as “several Republican House members, facing tough re-election fights in the high-tax, Democratic-leaning states of New York and New Jersey, voted against their party’s bill.”
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. Small Business Marketing
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.”
Kudlow Rules Out Tax Hikes, Entitlement Cuts To Cut Deficit.
CQ Roll Call (11/1, Lerman) reported, “President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser warned Democrats Thursday that he would fight any tax increase to reduce the deficit if they take control of the House in the midterm elections next Tuesday.” NRC Director Larry Kudlow “said tax increases won’t be needed to curb red ink because the administration is counting on robust economic growth of at least 3 percent a year.” Said Kudlow, “Absolutely not. ... I do not believe we will raise taxes.” Kudlow also “ruled out reducing the deficit by curbing ‘large entitlements,’ which presumably include Social Security and Medicare,” as “Trump ran for office on a pledge not to touch those programs.” Kudlow said, “There’s a lot of money in discretionary programs and smaller entitlements.”
Federal Reserve Likely To Raise Rates In December On Strong Economic Data.
The Wall Street Journal (11/2, Kiernan, Subscription Publication) reported that following the Labor Department’s announcement on Friday that job and wage growth was strong in October, the Fed is almost certain to raise interest rates at its December meeting.
US Companies Raise Prices After Years Of Low Inflation.
The Wall Street Journal (10/31, Hufford, Gasparro, Subscription Publication) reported that US companies are raising prices on their products after years of low inflation. Food makers, manufacturers, and airlines are among the firms that have announced price increases over the past week.
Strong Economy Underscores Trump’s Final Midterm Pitch.
The Washington Times (10/28, Dinan, Miller) reported President Trump “enjoys the best first-term economy in three decades with the gross domestic product growing at a 3.5 percent annual rate last quarter, and Mr. Trump wants Republicans rewarded for it at the ballot box.” The booming economy “underpins [his] final blitz for Republicans in the midterms, with dire warnings that the jobs boom and higher wages will slip away if Democrats seize Congress.”
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. Wages and Benefits
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.
Ad Agency Mindshare Helps Its Clients Target Alexa Voice Search Results.
Business Insider (10/19, Dua) reported that Mindshare, an ad agency, “thinks it’s got the perfect trick up its sleeve to help” brands “hack” search results on Amazon’s Alexa. Mindshare’s media innovation unit Executive Director Jeff Malmad said, “Simply put, you can’t ignore this medium.” Mindshare “has been prepping brands ranging from Unilever to Pandora through voice workshops and sessions tailored specifically to their category and marketing objectives.” Mindshare created “an Amazon Prime Day ‘hack’ for a large consumer packaged goods client based on the insight that Amazon Alexa is only likely to recommend two brands in a category.” To ensure that the client “would be one of the brands recommended, the agency ran an offer for consumers of the brand on Amazon in the days leading up to Prime Day so that its search results would peak, and Alexa would be more likely to recommend it.” Malmad said, “When it comes to voice shopping, second place is the first-place loser.”
Gartner Says Marketers Want To Be More Involved With Ad Tech Stack.
Ad Exchanger (10/19, Schiff) reported research firm Gartner’s “first-ever Magic Quadrant” on ad tech suggests that marketers have “a desire across the board for more control over their tech stack – or at least to know what the heck’s going on inside there,” and are “taking a more active role in assessing the technology they use.” Gartner concluded that “the frontrunners” in the quadrant “provide more complete solutions built around a demand-side platform programmatic execution.” The leader category is made up of Adobe, Adform, Google, and MediaMath, and “out of all the big marketing clouds, Adobe is still the only one that’s incorporated a DSP [demand-side platform] into its stack and integrated it with analytics. Oracle and Salesforce have begged out of that for now, citing the need for media neutrality.”
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.”
Labor Department Proposes Easing Retirement Plan Regulations.
Law360 (10/22, Brill, Subscription Publication) reported that the US Department of Labor moved to make President Trump’s “executive order on retirement regulations a reality, proposing a rule that would make it easier for companies and the self-employed to join existing retirement plans or band together to create new ones.” The President’s order, which came in August, “called for a regulation resembling June’s association health plan rule, but for retirement plans,” and “expanded the circumstances under which companies could band together to purchase a single health insurance plan for their workers.”
SBA’s Scott: Small Business Employees Deserve Retirement Security.
In a piece for Crain’s Cleveland (OH) Business (10/19), Small Business Administration regional administrator Rob Scott wrote that there is a considerable disparity in the availability of benefits to small businesses as compared to large employers. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, “the primary reason small business owners said they could not offer retirement benefits was the prohibitive expense in setting up and administering such a plan.” President Trump’s August 31 executive order “targets this barrier for small businesses, with a call to action to allow small employers to band together to offer 401(k)-type plans for their workers.” Scott said with greater accessibility to retirement plans, “American workers will have the tools at hand to invest in their future through long-term financial planning.”