Small business owners across the U.S. were more positive about conditions as the new year kicked off as owners raise wages and invest in their business. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.6 points in January to 104.3, a reading among the top 10% of all readings in the 46-year history of the survey. The economic expansion continues its historic run as small businesses enter 2020. NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg said, "Small businesses continue to build on the solid foundation of supportive federal tax policies and a deregulatory environment that allows owners to put an increased focus on operating and growing their businesses."
Fed Chair Powell is on Capitol Hill this morning in front of the House Financial Services Committee testifying on the state of the U.S. economy. In his prepared speech, Powell said, "The economic expansion is well into its 11th year, and it is the longest on record. Over the second half of last year, economic activity increased at a moderate pace and the labor market strengthened further, as the economy appeared resilient to the global headwinds that had intensified last summer."
The continued expanding economy coupled with a strong labor market continues to boost the housing market as mortgage delinquency rates continuing to decline. The MBA reports that the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four unit residential properties declined to a rate of 3.77% at the end of Q4 2019. "The mortgage delinquency rate in the final three months of 2019 fell to its lowest level since the current survey series began in 1979," said Marina Walsh, MBA's Vice President of Industry Analysis.