BestBrightHalfHOUSEfive.qxp_Layout 1 9/12/18 4:26 PM Page 1 The underlying data reflected the downward shift in sentiment and increased uncertainty. For instance, the rate of owners planning to hire in the next three months decreased from 21 percent in February to 9 percent in March to only 1 percent in April, the slow- Manufacturing (Cont’d from Page 9) anticipating more employment. Capital spending was the exception, with 29.7 percent predicting declines in capital expenditures over the coming months. NFIB Small Business Survey : The National Fed- eration of Independent Business said that the Small Business Optimism Index fell to its lowest level since March 2013, declining from 96.4 in March to 90.9 in April. The report states, “The business impact from COVID-19, government stay-at-home orders, and man- dated nonessential business closures has had a devas- tating impact on the small business economy.” Indeed, the measure for real sales expectations fell to the low- est level in the 46-year history of the survey, and the percentage of respondents saying that the next three months were a “good time to expand” fell from 28 percent in January to just 3 percent in April.The top “single most important problem” was poor sales, sup- planting hiring difficulties, which had been the prima- ry concern for two straight years.
est pace since December 2012. On the capital spend- ing front, 53 percent of small firms have made an in- vestment over the past three months, down from 60 percent in the previous survey and also the lowest since December 2012. Producer Price Index : Producer prices for final demand goods and services fell for the third straight month, declining 1.3 percent in April, the largest monthly decline since the series began in December 2009. More importantly, producer prices for final de- mand goods plunged 3.3 percent inApril, pulled lower by a whopping 19 percent decrease in energy costs on oil price shocks. Food prices were off 0.5 percent for the month. Core inflation for goods, which excludes food and energy, decreased 0.4 percent in April, and producer prices for final demand services were off 0.2 percent for the month. Over the past 12 months, producer prices for final demand goods and services decreased from 0.7 per- cent in March to -1 percent in April (seasonally adjust- ed), the lowest year-over-year rate since December 2015. Likewise, core producer prices have fallen by a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent year-over-year, slowing from 1.1 percent growth in March. The Federal Reserve remains concerned about de- (Cont’d on Page 13)
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