NFIB Weekly News
Leading the News
Trump Promises “Massive” Reduction In Regulations
The Washington Post (1/23, Johnson, Mui) reports that President Trump held a breakfast meeting Monday with manufacturing executives, during which he “promised to wipe out at least 75 percent of government regulations that hinder their businesses, fast-track their plans to open factories and cut taxes ‘massively.’” Trump told the executives, “We’re going to be cutting regulation massively. ... Now, we’re going to have regulation, and it’ll be just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people as the regulation we have right now.” On its website, CNBC (1/23, Pramuk) said a White House spokesman “did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate on which rules Trump will target or how the 75 percent was calculated.”
Small Businesses Welcome Regulatory Change, But Likelihood Of Success Not Clear Business Climate
Inc. Magazine (1/23) says that while small business owners and entrepreneurs are optimistic the new administration’s pledge to roll back regulations will be good for business, exactly “how much headway the government will make slashing existing rules...is less clear.” Sageworks Co-founder and Chairman Brian Hamilton is quoted saying, “I’ve been hearing about reduction of regulations for 30 years, and it has never happened.”
Small Businesses Hope To See Regulatory Change With New Administration.
The AP (1/18, Rosenberg) reports small businesses “are hoping to see some high-profile Obama administration regulations scrapped after Donald Trump takes office, with rules affecting overtime, sick leave and the environment among those that may be taken off the books.” Complying with federal, state and local regulations “affects companies of all sizes,” but can be “especially tough” for small businesses.
Hill Republicans “Move Full Speed Ahead” To Roll Back Obama Regulations
The Washington Post (1/17, Debonis) reported House Republicans “are pushing full speed ahead” to roll back Obama-era regulations, a shift that “has garnered almost unheard-of unanimity among fractious House Republicans and heralds sweeping changes to federal labor, environmental and financial oversight as the GOP takes control of Washington.” While the House “has already passed several sweeping bills,” next month it is “expected to take up more targeted measures that would use fast-track procedures to undo several recent rules issued by executive-branch agencies.” Among the regulations on the Republican chopping block are “new Interior Department rules aimed at protecting waterways near coal mines and preventing the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas wells, as well as a Labor Department rule that expands overtime eligibility.” The article added that Trump could not have found a “more enthusiastic partner” than Vice President-elect Mike Pence to push the regulatory changes.
Senate Subcommittee Starts Year With Hearing On Regulatory Hurdles Faced By Small Businesses
Bloomberg Government (1/19) reported on a bipartisan “package of changes” to the regulatory process from “Chairman James Lankford (R-Okla.) and ranking member Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management.” The article said the legislators “kicked off the new year with their first hearing into the regulatory enforcement burdens faced by small businesses.”
US Small Business Optimism Soars In December.
The NFIB’s latest Small Business Economic Trends report shows small business owners’ optimism increased in December following the presidential election. The index jumped up 7.4 points to 105.8, the highest level since 2004, mostly due to a major jump in the number of small business owners expecting better business conditions, which rose from 12 percent in November to 50 percent in December. NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said, “We haven’t seen numbers like this in a long time. Small business is ready for a breakout and that can only mean very good things for the U.S. economy.” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg added, “The December results confirm the sharp increase that we reported immediately after the election.”
Trump To Receive Estimates Of US Economic Health
Reuters (1/20, Blenkinsop) reported that President Trump this week will “get a first read-out on the health of the US economy” as “the stand-out” economic figures to be released next week “are likely to be first estimates for US growth on Friday and for British growth a day earlier.” According to Reuters, the US economy “is seen expanding by an annualized rate of 2.2 percent in the final quarter of 2016, easing from the 3.5 percent of third quarter as net trade turns negative, but with solid consumption growth and a reduced drag from the energy price collapse that hit investment.” The article warned though that a Reuters poll conducted earlier this month indicated “the top risk to US growth is that Trump keeps his protectionist promises.”
Stephen Moore: Key To Trump’s Success Is Fixing Sluggish Growth, Stagnant Wages Small Business Marketing
Writing for TIME (1/20), Stephen Moore, a senior fellow in economics at the Heritage Foundation and economic adviser for the Trump campaign, said the key to success for President Trump “is solving the knotty problem of sluggish growth and stagnant wages in America over the past 15 years.” Part of that plan, he said, includes undoing “stacks of job-killing Executive Orders and regulations from the Obama era,” including the Clean Power Plan. Other priorities include lowering corporate taxes, including taxes for small businesses, a “pro-growth energy policy,” and replacing Obamacare.
Yellen Supports Gradual Rate Hikes, Says Fed Not Behind The Curve On Inflation
Bloomberg News (1/20, Miller, Chen) reported Fed Chair Janet Yellen “backed a strategy for gradually raising interest rates, arguing that the central bank wasn’t behind the curve in containing inflation pressures but nevertheless can’t afford to allow the economy to run too hot.” She told the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, “I consider it prudent to adjust the stance of monetary policy gradually over time,” while emphasizing the significant doubt surrounding that outlook. Yellen also “said that future alterations in fiscal policy were just one of the many uncertainties that the Fed would have to grapple with as it plots its monetary moves in the months ahead.”
The AP (1/19, Crutsinger) reported, “While unemployment has fallen significantly and inflation is starting to tick higher,” Yellen said she “does not believe that the central bank has fallen behind the curve and needs to start pushing interest rates up more quickly.” However, Yellen “acknowledged that it would be ‘risky and unwise’ to allow the economy to overheat by keeping interest rates too low for too long.”
Business Owners To See Changes In Tax Law, Health Insurance In 2017.
USA Today (1/7, Rosenberg) reported on changes in tax law and other rules for 2017, highlighting changes for small business owners. Among those changes is a bigger deduction for equipment purchases, changes in health coverage requirements, and a smaller deduction for owners using vehicles for business.
Legislators “Moving Rapidly” To Restrain Federal Regulations.
In a “trio of House bills,” the San Francisco Chronicle (1/9, Lochhead) reports, Republicans are “moving rapidly” to “gut the administrative process used for decades to implement the practical details of such landmark laws as the Food and Drug Act, the Clean Air Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.” The “centerpiece” of the Republican action was the REINS Act, which “cleared the House on Friday, with an amendment that extended its reach to include all regulations adopted by federal agencies within the past 10 years.” The act would “require any rule costing industry more than $100 million – a dollar figure that amounts to any significant regulation – to be submitted to Congress. If either chamber fails to approve the rule within 70 days, the rule would die.” The rules “could affect everything from” food labeling to performance standards for residential wood stoves and energy efficiency standards in grocery store coolers.
Trump, Alibaba Chairman Discuss Plans To Create One Million Jobs In US.
Bloomberg News (1/9, Schuetz) reports that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma met Monday with President-elect Trump Monday to discuss “plans to create 1 million new jobs in the US by helping small businesses sell goods to China.” While the meeting came “amid tensions between Alibaba’s home country and the incoming administration” as Trump “has called for high tariffs on trade with China” and Alibaba “was recently put back on the US ‘Notorious Markets’ list,” the “announcement of new jobs pleased Trump and he was quick to praise Ma.” Reuters (1/9, Henderson, Alexander, Chiacu, Kearney) says Ma “laid out the Chinese e-commerce company’s new plan to bring a million small US businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers” over the next five years, an Alibaba spokesman said. The Los Angeles Times (1/9, Pierson) says “a pledge to create American jobs would help counter one of Trump’s chief concerns about the US relationship with China – namely that the yawning trade gap was stifling employment at home.”
Survey: Marketers Shy Away From “Risky” Platforms, Plan Facebook Audits
Advertising Age (1/19, Slefo) reported that some 50% of advertisers say they won’t put 2017 dollars into “platforms they consider risky,” and “with the exception of Google search advertising, confidence in digital or social platforms is significantly below 50%,” according to a new survey from Advertiser Perceptions. Ad Age said that the results showed “two-thirds of those surveyed said they are questioning their investment with Facebook, with 40% of those saying they plan to execute independent audits of the social media platform’s audience and ad delivery.” Advertiser Perceptions said the results showed that “Facebook can’t go whistling in the dark now.”
Google Will Offer YouTube Targeting With Search Histories Wages and Benefits
Advertising Age (1/20, Sloane) reported that Google said Friday in an update that it would allow advertisers to use its search data for targeting people on its YouTube platform. Ad Age points out that “Google’s search data is considered among the most powerful information for guiding advertising, but Google has kept it under tight wraps, careful when applying it toward ads outside the search experience.” People would be targeted on the basis of their search histories. Google also said it planned a “cloud-based measurement solution” that will provide “more detailed insights from...YouTube campaigns across devices.”
Snapchat Plans To Offer Third-Party Data Marketing
AdWeek (1/19, Johnson) reported that Snapchat plans to use “offline data” to help marketers “target consumers with relevant Snapchat ads based on products that they’ve purchased.” Snapchat will match the Oracle Data Cloud and “hashed email addresses and anonymous files of mobile IDs” in the effort. The related tool is being tested by “STX Entertainment, Kia and The Honest Company.”
More Than Half Of American Adults Use Only Mobile Phones, Research Shows
MediaPost’s Real-Time Daily (1/17, Elkin) reported that the research firm GfK MRI said it found 52% of American adults now use their mobile phone as their primary household phone, double the rate in 2010, when only 26% of American households were without a landline. Millennials’ use of only mobile phones shot up to 71% in the latest research, compared to 47% in 2010. The data are from GfK MRI’s Fall 2016 Survey of about 24,000 American adults.
Digiday’s List Of What’s In And Out In 2017: “Memberships,” Not “Ads.”
Digiday (12/30) posted its “definitive” but always-fun list of “what’s in and what’s out” for 2017. On the in vs. out list are concepts such as “memberships” vs. “ads,” “artificial intelligence” vs. “big data,” “second-party data” vs. “third party data,” and “blocking ad blockers” vs. “Please turn off your ad blocker,” and “header bidding” vs. “waterfalls.”
For what won’t happen in 2017, Digiday (1/2, Willens) turned to some industry experts for predictions. Tim Mahlman, President of AOL Platforms, said, “Walled gardens will not drop their walls. You’re not going to see the duopoly change the way they’re thinking,” while Charlie Fiordalis, Chief Digital Officer at Media Storm, said, “Twitter isn’t going to regain its position as a preeminent social platform. It pains me to say it, because I’m an avid user, but they’ve lost the cool factor, have stopped growing and haven’t been able to break through as an OTT platform.” Topics included ad blocking, artificial intelligence, content valuation, and others.
Infographic Explores How Generations View User Content On Social Media.
AdWeek (1/2, Bazilian) reported on an infographic that contrasted how Millennials and Baby Boomers view and share user-generated content on social media. The data for the graphic is based on a survey done by Olapic, an earned content firm. A trait common to all the generations is that 76% of the respondents “believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands.” Olapic’s Co-Founder Pau Sabria said that finding “should serve as a wake-up call for brands.”
Missouri, New Hampshire Taking Up “Right-To-Work” Bills
The AP (1/18, Lieb) reported strengthened Republican majorities in state legislatures are considering efforts “to diminish the power of organized labor” by passing “right-to-work laws” which will be voted on in the Missouri House and the New Hampshire Senate. Kentucky already enacted a law this month. While it is generally believed that such laws weaken unions, there is some evidence that at least some unions have been able to maintain their membership in states with such laws.
Legislators Planning To Repeal ACA.
The New York Times (1/4, A1, Pear, Subscription Publication) reported Vice President-elect Mike Pence and the top Republicans in Congress “made clear on Wednesday, more powerfully and explicitly than ever, that they are dead serious about repealing the Affordable Care Act.” The Times said “a determined Republican president and Congress can gut the Affordable Care Act, and do it quickly: a step-by-step health care revolution in reverse that would undo many of the changes made since the law was signed by President Obama in March 2010.” The legislation “would probably leave the most popular provisions of the health law intact, such as the prohibition on insurers’ denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.” Instead, the Times added, the legislation would eliminate the tax penalties imposed “on people who go without insurance and on larger employers who do not offer coverage to employees,” limit state Medicaid funds, and repeal public marketplace subsidies.
Labor Department: US Employers Added 156,000 Jobs In December.
The Labor Department released its monthly employment report showing that US employers added 156,000 jobs in December, “capping a year of slower but solid hiring,” the AP (1/6, Rugaber) reported. In addition, the unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent from a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, while hourly pay “jumped 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the biggest increase in more than seven years.”
On its front page, the Wall Street Journal (1/6, Morath, Subscription Publication) said the gains were down from November and 2016 had the fewest new jobs since 2011. The Journal noted there continues to be slow growth in wages, a low rate of labor force participation, and many in part-time jobs who would like to have full-time work.
Tight Labor Market Could Lead To Shortage Of Skilled Workers. The AP (1/7, Salsberg) reported that some economists “are waving caution flags about an increasingly tight labor market in which key industries are finding it more difficult to secure the highly skilled employees they need to continue flourishing.”
Minimum Wage Increases Take Effect In Several US States.
The AP (12/29, Klepper) reported that nineteen states, including New York and California, “will ring in the year with an increase in the minimum wage.” Massachusetts and Washington state “will have the highest” new minimum wages in the country at $11 per hour. California will raise its wage “to $10.50 for businesses with 26 or more employees,” while New York state is “taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, to $10.50 for small businesses in the city, $10 in its downstate suburbs and $9.70 elsewhere.” Meanwhile, voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington “approved increases in this year’s election,” and seven other states, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota, “are automatically raising the wage based on indexing.” The other states seeing increases are Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont.
The New York Times (1/2, Board, Subscription Publication) in an editorial argued that without a federal increase, state-by-state increases are likely to continue, shutting out “large areas, especially in the South.”
USA Today Analysis: Delayed Obamacare Repeal Could Lead To State-Level Experimentation.
USA Today (12/22, O'Donnell) reported that if legislation for the expected repeal of Obamacare includes a delay, Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation “predicts states will propose more waivers from Medicaid expansion’s requirements in advance of the fixed ‘block grants’ likely to be proposed” by the Trump Administration. This “could turn states into...’laboratories of democracy’” in terms of healthcare funding.
Replacing Obamacare Could Take Years
McClatchy (12/21, Lightman) reported that while Republicans are “determined” to quickly repeal Obamacare, “consumers may not notice any difference in their health care coverage for a long time” because while eliminating the law “should be fairly easy,” the “harder task is replacing it, and ‘the eventual result will take several years,’” according to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander. In the House, Rep. Mark Walker, who will chair the House Republican Study Committee next year, favors “dramatic changes, but he warns that moving too quickly is unrealistic.”