- The NFIB Index increased 6.2 points to 100.6 in June from the prior month
- U.S. industrial production rose by 5.4% in June, beating analysts’ expectations of a 4.1% increase
- Retail sales rose 7.5% in June from the prior month
Small Business Optimism Improves: U.S. small business owners showed more optimism in June for the second straight month. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported last week that its Small Business Optimism Index, which is based on surveys of small business owners, climbed 6.2 points to 100.6 in June from the prior month; in the month of April, the Index had fallen to seven-year lows amid the global coronavirus pandemic. While many of the individual sub-components of the Index remain at historic lows, eight of 10 improved in June, highlighted by strong increases in job creation and sales expectations.
U.S. Industrial Production Rebounds in June: According to data released last week by the Federal Reserve, business conditions continue to improve in June across U.S. industrial companies, as industrial production—a measure of factory, mining and utility output—rose 5.4% from the prior month, beating economists’ forecasts of a 4.1% gain. The sharp increase in production was led by motor vehicles and parts, as employees began to return to work post-lockdown. Additionally, capacity utilization in the industrial sector rose 3.5 percentage points to 68.6%; increases in this measure generally signal rising levels of employment and capital spending.
Retail Sales Show Further Recovery in June: After declining precipitously in March and April amid COVID-19 containment restrictions on business, U.S. retail sales have now increased for two straight months. The Commerce Department reported last week that retail sales rose 7.5% in June from May and 1.1% from a year ago. Excluding the volatile auto and fuel categories, sales jumped 6.7% from May and 1.6% from last year. In a turnabout from prior months, sales at internet retailers declined 2.4% in June, as consumers began venturing out of their homes to shop at businesses that had resumed in-store operations.