Small business optimism remained strong in September though it did decline in September due in part to the global trade issues. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.3 points to 101.8. September's figure falls within the top 20% of all readings in the index's 46-year history. “As small business owners continue to invest, expand, and try to hire, they’re doing so with less gusto than they did earlier in the year, thanks to the mixed signals they’re receiving from policymakers and politicians,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan.
Wholesale inflation from the Producer Price Index (PPI) for September remained tame falling 0.3% versus a gain of 0.1% expected. The decline was due in part to falling costs of goods and services. It was the biggest decline in eight months. On an annual basis, PPI rose 1.4%, the smallest increase since November 2016. Its cousin, the more closely watched Consumer Price Index, will be released on Thursday. Inflation is a non-issue and is reason why long-term rates like mortgages will remain low for a long time.
Low mortgage rates have pushed home affordability to a near-three-year high in September, reports Black Knight. The company reports that as of September 2019, with the average 30-year interest rate at 3.64%, it now requires 20.7% of the national median income to make monthly principal and interest (P&I) payments on the average-priced home. That marks the second lowest national payment-to-income ratio in 20 months, behind only August 2019. In addition, Black Knight said that while falling interest rates have improved affordability across the country, pockets of tight affordability remain, especially along the western coast of the US.