Last updateMon, 18 Nov 2019 9pm

Small Business Optimism Rose in October

The small business half of the economy posted a 0.6 point gain in October’s NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. The 102.4 reading was buoyed by eight of the 10 Index components advancing, as talk of a recession waned in October. The Uncertainty Index declined 4 points but remains historically high heading into an election year. One quarter of the owners selected “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem, more than cited taxes or regulations.

Manufacturing Production Down 0.6% in October

Industrial production fell 0.8% in October after declining 0.3% in September. Manufacturing production decreased 0.6% in October. Much of this decline was due to a strike at a major manufacturer of motor vehicles. The strike contributed to a drop of 1.2% for durables. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, the output of durables moved down 0.2%. The indexes for electrical equipment, appliances, and components and for miscellaneous manufacturing each moved down more than 1%.

U.S. Business Optimism Hits Three-Year Low

The latest IHS Markit Business Outlook survey signals that U.S. private sector firms are less optimistic towards the outlook for business activity over the coming 12 months than in June. The net balance of firms expecting a rise in output has dropped from +16% in June to +10% in October and is the lowest for three years. The net balance of firms forecasting growth is also below the global (+14%) and developed market (+12%) averages. Both manufacturing and service sector firms expressed a lower level of positive sentiment towards future output than earlier in the year.

Global Manufacturing Downturn May Be Easing

The global manufacturing sector contracted for the sixth successive month in October, according to the latest global PMI surveys. The J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI posted 49.8 in October, remaining below the neutral mark of 50.0. That said, a third successive rise in the PMI provided a further sign that the downturn may have bottomed out in July.

Industrial M&A Activity Thriving Despite Manufacturing Slowdown

“While the industrial segment of the economy has suffered a gradual slowdown from late 2018 to now, consolidation in this corner of the world continues apace,” Forbes reports.“Total transactions are down slightly for 2019 year to date, but average deal valuations are on par with the big numbers posted the past couple of years. Why?”


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