Business Resource Center

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NFIB Weekly News

NFIB Weekly News Leading the News

Low Unemployment Tests Expansion-Minded Businesses To Find Workers. (05/15/2018)

The AP (5/12, Scott, Mason, Johannson) reported that while “a nearly nonexistent unemployment rate might seem like the ultimate goal for an economy,” nevertheless “a vast majority of economists believe it’s important for an economy to have a pool of unemployed workers.” According to the AP, “rock-bottom unemployment” poses a challenge, in that it “restrains the ability of businesses to expand, which in turn puts the brakes on economic growth.” Growing demand for skilled workers is causing some firms to partner with schools on worker training programs, and “demand for skilled workers has created something of a bidding war” in some sectors. In addition, some businesses “are trying to incentivize workers with things besides higher pay, offering perks like education reimbursement, transportation reimbursement and in mountain resorts, housing assistance,” and they are “also offering opportunities for professional development and creating a company culture that helps not only draw in new employees but retain the current staff are well.”

Business Climate

Labor Department: US Import Prices Rose 0.3% In April, Less Than Expected. (05/15/2018)

Reuters (5/11, Mutikani) reported that the Labor Department announced on Friday that “US import prices rose less than expected in April as a rebound in the cost of petroleum products was tempered by a drop in food prices, the latest indication that inflation pressures were increasing moderately.” The department said “import prices gained 0.3 percent last month after falling 0.2 percent in March.” According the Reuters, “Signs of a moderate build-up of price pressures suggest the Federal Reserve will continue to gradually raise interest rates even as inflation is flirting with the US central bank’s 2 percent target.”

Small Business Marketing

Sen. Gillibrand Introduces Bill To Bolster Funding For Employee-Owned Small Businesses. (05/15/2018)

PlanSponsor (5/11) reported that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand recently introduced a bill, “the Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018.” The preamble says the bill is designed to “expand opportunities to available employee-owned business concerns through Small Business Administration loan programs, and for other purposes.” The bill “would amend Section 7(a) of the Small Business Act, expanding loans to small business employers for the purpose of transferring ownership of the company to employees,” and would “provide $500 million in support of employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) programs and would operate through the Small Business Administration.”

Wages and Benefits

Washington Post: “Near-Universal” Healthcare Plan “Wouldn’t Break The Bank.” (05/15/2018)

The Washington Post (5/13) editorialized that economists at the Urban Institute on Sunday released a proposal that “would get the nation to near-universal health-care coverage and relieve many of the financial burdens some people face under the current system — and cost the federal treasury far less than more radical plans.” While it would leave in place Medicare and the employer-based healthcare system, it would create “a new health-care marketplace for most everyone else — those on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program...and those buying insurance on their own in the individual market.” According to the Urban Institute, the plan would cover “about 16 million additional people” and cost the government “about $98 billion in the first year — a lot, to be sure, but far less than a switch to single-payer.”

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