The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index jumped two points to 106.9 in January. Now Is a Good Time to Expand registered at 32% an all-time record. Actual Earnings climbed up 11 points from December, the highest level reported since 1988. As small business owners struggle to find qualified workers for open positions, reports of higher worker compensation rose four percent, the highest reading since 2000 and among the highest in the 45 years of NFIB’s survey.
In its monthly oil market report, OPEC increased its forecast for crude supply by 1.4 million barrels per day. The increase in its supply forecast is driven almost entirely by U.S. production, which in November topped 10 million BPD for the first time since 1970 and is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia's production levels this year.
The Department of Agriculture announced it projects farm profits will drop 6.7% in 2018 to $59.5 billion, the lowest since 2006 and down 52% from a record 2013.
A report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas suggests this season’s flu epidemic is crippling small business productivity. The analysis projects that the season could lead to a total of $15.4 billion in lost productivity for the US economy.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.