The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased slightly in October as owners continue to deal with the lack of workers for unfilled positions and inventory shortages. The index fell to 98.2 down 0.9 points. Within the report, it showed that the NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased while business conditions outlook fell to its lowest level since November 2012. "Small business owners are attempting to take advantage of current economic growth but remain pessimistic about business conditions in the near future,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “One of the biggest problems for small businesses is the lack of workers for unfilled positions and inventory shortages, which will continue to be a problem during the holiday season.”
Prices at the pump continue to rise even though the winter months usually cut down on demand and prices fall. Motor club AAA reports that the national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline hit $3.42 this week, the highest since September 2014. The price is up from $3.26 a month ago and from $2.11 seen a year ago. AAA says that OPEC's decision to not release further supply while the U.S. has now become energy dependent from energy independence a year ago are several factors for the increase.
Wholesale prices inched higher in October but remained unchanged annually as the inflation situation continues to impact the U.S. financial markets. The Producer Price Index for October rose 0.6% from 0.5% and came in unchanged annually at 6.8%. The more closely watched Consumer Price Index will be released tomorrow.