Financial and Economic Brief - January 3, 2018by © Liberty Publishing, Inc.
Small Business Hiring Slows
According to a report from Paychex, small business hiring slowed in 2017. The Small Business Jobs Index closed 2017 at 99.70 after falling 0.16% in December and 0.78% for the year. Furthermore, small-business national hourly earnings were at $26.14 on average, up 2.76% year over year and 2.85% for 2017. “While small business jobs growth slowed this year, it's important to recall that small businesses led the hiring surge coming out of the recession and maintained high levels of growth for quite some time,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. He further noted, “We still have moderate job growth.”
Oil above $60 a Barrel
U.S. crude oil prices rose 1% Friday to more than $60 a barrel, the highest close since June of 2015. In December, oil prices rose after the Keystone pipeline shut down following an oil spill. Due to the surplus of oil in recent years, OPEC was forced to cut production. In November, OPEC extended the production cuts until the end of 2018. With the war against OPEC halted and shale production re-energized, the U.S. is ready for record oil output in 2018.
First Trading Day, Indexes Higher
Wall Street’s main indexes were higher today, the first trading day of the year, lifted by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks. The major stock indexes finished 2017 with their best performance since 2013. “The first week of trading usually suggests the overall trend of the markets which we expect to be positive,” noted Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. The December payrolls report, data on manufacturing and service sectors are some of the leading indicators expected this week, and will be analyzed for signs of improving economic health and the number of interest rate hikes in 2018.