Through much of the noise and criticism that the NFIB was a biased survey where small business saw confidence levels soar to 12 year highs, perhaps many won’t criticize that the Philly Fed business outlook index. Market expectations had been for a tepid 18 points in Feb 2017 down from 23.6 in January. It came in at 43.3. Boom.
The report said,
“The share of firms reporting growth continues to increase: More than 48 percent of the firms reported increases in activity this month compared with 40 percent last month. The index for current new orders increased 12 points this month (with 44 percent of the firms reporting increases and just 6 percent reporting decreases). The shipments index increased 8 points. Other broad indicators also corroborate growth. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes were positive for the fourth consecutive month, suggesting longer delivery times and an increase in unfilled orders.”
“Firms continued to report overall increases in manufacturing employment this month. The percentage of firms reporting an increase in employment (15 percent) exceeded the percentage reporting a decrease (4 percent). However, the largest share of firms reported no change in employment (74 percent). The current employment index fell 2 points but has now registered its third consecutive positive reading. Firms reported an increase in work hours this month: The average workweek index increased 7 points and has now been positive for four consecutive months.”
“Although they moderated from last month, the future indexes for growth over the next six months continued to reflect a high degree of optimism.”
The Small Business Administration also echoed recent sentiment improvement.
Forget the (Fake) news and follow the money. Businesses are becoming more upbeat. Despite all the media antics, such ‘confidence’, sorely lacking across the globe, is finally becoming reality because people feel The Donald will undo decades of incompetent self serving political management. Low interest rates don’t cause businesses to invest. They step up when they see a cycle.