Opinion

GUEST POST: Charter Schools Lead the Way on STEM

Nov 15, 2013

Over the next decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the United States will create 9.2 million jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In order to fill these jobs, experts agree that we must adequately train our students in STEM fields. This is a critical step toward securing our economic competitiveness.

Back to Basics

Oct 16, 2013

With the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis behind us, at least temporarily, I thought it may be a good time to take a closer look at the underlying economy and the role of the Federal Reserve in stimulating the recovery.

Long Live the Risk Takers

Oct 16, 2013

For most of history, people lived day-to-day. Their goal was survival, living to see the next sunrise. Hunt, gather, hunker down, and avoid danger—that was the only answer. One small slip, one cold winter, one encounter with infection could mean the end. Life was simple, hard, brittle, and short.

Modern life is just the opposite—complex, comfortable, and about three times as long. Our capacity to bounce back from loss or harm—one definition of resilience—has become infinitely greater.

The Fed Prepares For Change

Sep 17, 2013

Most of us have probably spent these past few weeks thinking of the transition from summer to fall, but the markets have spent the past few months steadfastly focused on only one thing: the future course of U.S. monetary policy. The Federal Reserve is expected to announce plans for reducing, or tapering, its $85 billion monthly bond purchase program. In addition, the president is expected to announce his choice for Chairman Bernanke’s successor.

Jobs Report Highlights Administration’s Errant Economic Policy Focus

Sep 6, 2013

Today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests the nation’s job engine remains stuck in slow-gear. Over four years into an economic recovery, this is very strange. Worse, job creation shows no sign of accelerating even as new economic headwinds start to blow, most notably the ending of the Fed’s quantitative easing program – the taper and the exit – and all this will mean for the U.S. and the global economies.

How Employers Should Respond to the Young and Unemployed

Sep 5, 2013

A generational  twist threatens this country’s social and economic well-being. Fewer 16 to 24 year-olds are employed than at any time since World War II.  In 2000, twice as many young people were working than men and women old enough to be their grandparents. Today, many more seniors are at work than their grandchildren.

ECON 101: Entitlement Reform: Design or Default

Aug 27, 2013

It’s official: Social Security and Medicare will run out of money. This is according to the Social Security and Medicare trustees’ annual reports. The trustees include Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services secretaries. This judgment is affirmed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Congress’ General Accountability Office. It is important to belabor the point because some in America persist in protesting all is well with America’s key entitlements. All is not well, not well at all.

GUEST POST: U.S. and Brazil - Visa-Free Travel Benefits Business

Aug 22, 2013

Commercial and political ties between the U.S. and Brazil have strengthened greatly in recent years.  Brazil is now the seventh largest economy in the world, and Brazilian buying power is at an all-time high.  President Dilma Rousseff this fall will make the first formal state visit by a Brazilian leader to the United States in nearly two decades, following on recent visits by the U.S. Administration to Brazil.  These ties will continue to grow even stronger as our economies expand. 

OP-ED: Common Core Brings Benefits to Both Education and Our Economy

Aug 16, 2013

America's public K-12 education system isn't making the grade.

It's not adequately preparing our students to succeed in college or the modern workforce. It's not delivering the skilled workers that businesses need to drive stronger economic growth. It's not helping advance America's ability to compete and lead in the global economy. In short, it's setting our nation up to fail.

Although there are exceptions, American public schools are generally producing fewer students with the skills they need for long-term success. Proficiency in fundamental disciplines is slipping.

GUEST POST: Tips from a Life-Stage Entrepreneur

Aug 12, 2013

“Necessity is the mother of all invention.” This English proverb is the singular reason why I am an entrepreneur.

More specifically, I am a “life-stage” entrepreneur. I have started two businesses, both out of necessity, and around two distinct milestones: college and marriage. 

Your Feedback: Trade, Education, and Immigration

Jul 30, 2013

Trade

 Trade needs to be outgoing as well as incoming. When ships enter our ports at or below the waterline, then depart with 10 feet or more of visible waterline, I believe the trade balance is unequal. Only our logs, wheat, and other grains are exported in any quantity. We export few, if any, manufactured goods around the world.—Thomas Ramey via Facebook

The Best Economic System Ever Devised

Jul 10, 2013

Free enterprise has been the foundation of America’s economy and society for more than 200 years. It’s been the platform for unprecedented prosperity, opportunity, and advancement for generations. It’s the reason our nation remains a beacon of hope for people around the world who wish for a better life.

Fourth Branch of Government

Jun 26, 2013

Question: Which branch of government is the most powerful: the executive, legislative, or judicial? Answer: None of these. From the executive branch has sprouted a fourth branch of government that is arguably more powerful than the other three combined—a sprawling bureaucracy ruled by unelected, anonymous regulators with growing influence over how businesses operate but with little to no transparency and accountability.

The Markets and the Fed

Jun 13, 2013

The last few summers have seen wide swings in economic growth and the stock market, and this year appears to be following a similar pattern. In the days leading up to Memorial Day weekend, the Federal Reserve hinted in testimony and in the minutes of its last meeting that it may start the process of unwinding its quantitative easing in the not too distant future.

GUEST COLUMN: Common Core – A Long Time Coming

Jun 13, 2013

This summer one of my second-grader’s friends will be moving from Huntsville, Alabama, to the Washington, D.C. area. She was one of the top students in the class and will likely do well wherever she goes to school. Her father is in the Army, so she will probably move a few more times before she graduates from high school.

Do Immigrants Benefit Our Economy?

Jun 13, 2013

Throughout our nation’s history, the world’s biggest risk takers, boldest thinkers, and hardest workers have flocked to America’s shores in pursuit of greater freedom and opportunity. Their contributions to our society and economy are no less important today than they were 200 years ago. In the face of changing demographics, shifts in the labor market, and an increasingly global workforce, immigrants are essential to our economic strength and competitive standing in the world. And that’s good for all Americans.

GUEST COLUMN: Leading the Way on Common Core Standards

Jun 5, 2013

As we look to the future and think about the economic recovery, we can see the widening of a skills gap where the education and skill levels of Kentuckians don’t meet the requirements and supply of jobs. The challenge of filling this gap will become even more acute as thousands of baby boomers retire, leaving well-paying positions unfilled.

This bottom-line reality is the key motivation behind our aggressive support for the Common Core State Standards, known in Kentucky as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards.

A Bridge--And a Trust Fund--That Need a Fix

May 24, 2013

Authorities are trying to determine what caused the I-5 bridge to collapse about 60 miles north of Seattle in Skagit County.

While the cause of the collapse is not yet known, this unfortunate occurrence does provide a window into what happens to supply chains and passenger travel when a major corridor is closed, and a corridor with no redundancy--no good way to detour traffic.  

The Road Ahead

May 22, 2013

Last June, when I accepted the gavel to lead the U.S. Chamber’s board of directors for a one-year period, I was expecting a busy year given the Chamber’s ambitious jobs and growth policy agenda. However, I didn’t fully appreciate just how completely the Chamber would immerse itself in the most pressing issues of the day.  

Do We Need More Tax Revenue to Sustain Government Spending?

May 7, 2013

American families and employers are keenly aware of the deep cut that the government is taking out of their household incomes and hard-earned profits—especially during the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. A heavy tax burden means consumers have less of their income to spend in the economy and businesses have less for hiring, expansion, and investment. So when taxes go up, the rate of economic growth goes down.

FEEDBACK: Readers Slam Health Care Law

May 1, 2013

 As long as the federal government thinks it knows better than you or your doctor and holds the purse strings, health care will get worse and more expensive. With the government in control, more people will die from neglect and lack of medical professionals, proper medicine, and therapies.

Speak Out! April Quick Poll Results

May 1, 2013

Take our weekly surveys at FreeEnterprise.com or at facebook.com/AmericanFreeEnterprise.

1) What is your level of knowledge of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)?

I still don’t understand it at all, or have a limited understanding, of how the law impacts me.

80.8%

I have a strong understanding of how the law impacts me. 19.2

 

2) What is the most needed reform of our tax system?

Disinterest With Interest

Apr 22, 2013

Although it cannot be verified, financier Baron Rothschild is credited with saying that compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the concept by which our savings earn interest, which is then added to the principal so that in successive periods we earn interest on our interest—we earn compound interest. If you put away $100 at 10% interest, you would earn $10 the first year, $11 the second year, $12.10 the third year, and so on. The $100 in principal would double in a little over seven years.

Building Blocks on Infrastructure

Apr 3, 2013

In the 20th century, America built the world’s best infrastructure. But, like a house, infrastructure requires habitual maintenance and renewal—which have been lacking recently due to continual underinvestment. A strong, safe, reliable infrastructure is central to U.S. economic and job-growth success, be it increasing domestic energy production, remaining competitive in agriculture or trying to reinvigorate manufacturing.

VIDEO: Novartis CEO on Health Care Spending

Mar 29, 2013

In an interview with Fortune’s Geoff Colvin, Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez discusses the need to get federal spending on health care under control and how cuts would affect reimbursements and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

FEEDBACK: Readers on Energy, Immigration Reform

Mar 25, 2013

Energy and Shale Development

 With the feds owning most of the shale, tar sands, and coal lands in the mountain states, it is good to see the other states using their resources. Maybe someday we will be so blessed.—Mark via FreeEnterprise.com

World Integration

Mar 21, 2013

The impact on U.S. markets from international events, such as the recent elections in Italy, the ongoing recession and debt crisis in Europe, and the growth projections for the Chinese economy, make it clear that we live in a global marketplace.  Sometimes, we can use a little reinforcement of this fact so once a year we devote this column to our global interconnectedness.

Turning Two and Not Looking Back

Mar 15, 2013

On the morning of March 24, 2011, I walked through the doors of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago to a room full of empty tables and chairs. I waited anxiously for employers to fill them, and for veterans and military spouses to flood the room with their energy, ambition, and unparalleled experience.  By noon, hundreds of veterans and military spouses were meeting face-to-face with more than 100 employers.

Hiring Our Heroes was born.

FEEDBACK: Reactions on Twitter to the Chamber's Jobs and Growth Agenda

Mar 1, 2013

Good reminder from the U.S. Chamber.—Fresno Chamber of Commerce responding to the U.S. Chamber’s tweet “International trade generates economic growth & job creation at home.”

Now this is more like it!—Ruth Nineke responding to the U.S. Chamber’s tweet “Let’s get the conversation started on an agenda for Jobs & Growth”

Higher taxes won’t help the economy much, says U.S. Chamber CEO.—Jon Street

2013 U.S. Economic Outlook

Feb 19, 2013

Election years always make for good political theater, and this year was no different. Unfortunately, they are generally not good times for making serious policy. As a result, a slew of tough economic and tax policies were pushed to a lame-duck session or beyond. While Congress and the administration were able to pass legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, the comprehensive tax reform and entitlement reform needed to put our fiscal house in order were left unattended.

GUEST COLUMN: A Partnership We Can Build On

Feb 11, 2013

Our transportation infrastructure – roads, rails, ports and airports – carries the life-blood of our economy. It helps us move goods, facilitate commerce and bring millions of international visitors to our country.

But these critical arteries are clogged, risking our health and viability as an economic leader.

ECON 101: Fiscal Cliff: The Not So Big Deal

Jan 16, 2013

For most, as midnight approached on New Year’s Eve 2012, revelry ensued and confetti dropped. In Washington, the tone was more somber as Congress worked to avert going over the fiscal cliff. Shortly after 2 a.m. on January 1, the Senate, by a vote of 89-8, passed legislation that addressed certain tax aspects of the cliff but kicked the can on the sequester, effectively shutting it off for two months.

ECON 101: Housing: One Bright Spot

Dec 27, 2012

The U.S. economy continues to expand at a meager pace roughly in line with its long-run potential rate of growth. In the third quarter of 2012, real GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.7% after growing 1.3% in the second quarter. The growth was almost entirely accounted for by inventory accumulation. The core drivers of growth— consumption and business investment—were quite weak and were revised lower in the most recent GDP report. There was an uptick in federal spending, but with the ongoing negotiations on the fiscal cliff, that is not expected to continue.

Education Reform Sparks Talk

Dec 1, 2012

 The best changes to our schools would be in the realm of school choice and curriculum. Give parents greater choice in where their children attend school. Change our curriculum to focus much less on social issues. Often we see the figure of ten thousand dollars spent per student on an annual basis. Yet we have dismal test scores. Education officials claim it is because we do not spend enough money on education. Nonsense!

GUEST COLUMN: Conservatives Should Support Law of the Sea

Nov 20, 2012

We are now suffering the consequences of very bad policies — real per-capita income is down, unemployment is high, and job creation is stalled. A week after President Obama’s reelection, we get news that jobless claims have spiked to 439,000, and there are 50 million Americans living in poverty. Who is to blame? Democrats gave us Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and failed stimulus, and Republicans gave us Sarbanes-Oxley. All of these bad policy ideas have killed job growth.

A Look At Monetary Policy

Oct 26, 2012

As we slog through yet another year of mediocre economic growth and a weak job market, I thought it might be a good idea to take a closer look at the monetary policy instituted by the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) during this time period. The policy has not only been huge by historical standards and unprecedented in scope, but it has been highly controversial. Many have questioned its effectiveness or railed about its inflationary potential.

Fed Policy Actions

Good Healthcare Is Good for Business

Oct 25, 2012

Imagine driving into a community where the welcome sign also displays an ominous message: “Surgeon General’s Warning: This Community could be Hazardous to Your Health.” You’d probably turn around.

The mere mention of such a dire warning should motivate communities into thinking about their collective health because it will have an increasing economic impact.    

Quick Poll Results

Oct 1, 2012

 

Below are the results of recent surveys that were posted on our website. Take our weekly surveys at www.FreeEnterprise.com or on our Facebook page at facebook.com/AmericanFreeEnterprise.

As a small business owner, do you think you’ll retire?

No, I don’t see myself retiring in the foreseeable future        44.4%

No, I’ll probably still work in my business part time  25.6

Yes, but not at 65                                                       25.6

Econ 101: Jobs—Where Are They?

Sep 26, 2012

The jobs report for the month of August was uniformly bad. Total job creation was only 96,000. Data for the last two months were revised down a combined 41,000 jobs. The workweek was unchanged at a historically low 34.4 hours, and average hourly earnings were down 1 cent. The unemployment rate dropped two tenths of a percentage point to 8.1%, but only because 368,000 people left the workforce, and the participation rate fell to 63.5%—a 31-year low.

Quick Poll Results

Aug 29, 2012

Below are the results of recent surveys posted on our website. Take our weekly surveys at FreeEnterprise.com or on our Facebook page at facebook.com/AmericanFreeEnterprise.

Which word best describes your feelings about the economy?

Pessimism        50.8%

Uncertainty     42.6

Optimism        6.6

How engaged are you in this year’s elections?

ECON 101: End of Summer Review

Aug 22, 2012

As the summer begins to fade and we enter the height of the campaign season, it’s probably worth revisiting the economic outlook. Our economy has been recovering from a very steep recession for three years since the middle of 2009. Yet the pace remains subpar, and job growth has been anemic at best.

Congress Needs to Close the Deal on Russia PNTR

Aug 22, 2012

It’s a done deal—Russia is now the 156th member of the World Trade Organization. But because of some unfinished business before the Congress, the United States is the one WTO member that won’t immediately reap the benefits of Russia opening its market, safeguarding intellectual property and investments, and strengthening the rule of law.

GUEST COLUMN: Lessons From Canada

Jul 31, 2012

In many respects, Canada’s economy is the envy of the world. Not only did we weather the global economic and financial crisis better than most industrialized countries, but we staged an impressive turnaround.  Canada was the first of the G7 countries to recover all the output lost during the recession. Our labour market bounced back, too, recovering all of the jobs lost through the downturn as of early last year.

GUEST COLUMN: We Did Build That

Jul 30, 2012

As an independent businessman who founded my own publishing and public relations business back in 1976, I have never believed in discussing politics in a public forum...That is, until now!

I take great offense in the president's recent assertion that businesses could not have achieved success without government intervention and support. Really???

Education Holds the Key to Growth

Jul 26, 2012

In June, I began a one-year term as chairman of the U.S. Chamber, and I am honored to serve the organization during its 100th anniversary.

While the phrase is often used, we are indeed living in “interesting times.” As we watch the U.S. economy struggle to regain traction and we debate ways to jump-start growth in an increasingly global marketplace, insufficient attention is being given to a key contributor to these economic headwinds: the widening gap between the skill sets of today’s students and the expanding skills required by American businesses and industries.

Wisconsin Result Shows Business’ Enthusiasm

Jul 1, 2012

Every month through October, Election Spotlight will provide insight into the 2012 elections and their implications for business, free enterprise, and our nation’s prospects for strong economic growth.

Toward the Fiscal Cliff

Jul 1, 2012

In emergency situations, medical personnel are trained to stabilize the patient first, then nurse him or her back to health. Facing a fiscal emergency, Congress must follow the same course of action.

To stabilize the patient, Congress must immediately extend the 2001 and 2003 tax rates—including current marginal rates, dividend and capital gains rates, and estate tax relief—as well as expired and soon-to-expire business tax provisions such as the R&D tax credit. Failure to do so will result in the largest tax increase in U.S. history.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Jul 1, 2012

A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) looked at the impending fiscal cliff and the dire consequences if Congress and the administration fail to address the expiring tax cuts and proceed with the across-the-board spending cuts to defense and other discretionary programs. The result could be a return to recession. In contrast, extending the tax cuts and ignoring the sequestration would continue the string of unprecedented huge budget deficits and rising debt levels. The ultimate result of such profligacy can be seen in modern day Greece.

Is the EPA Failing Small Businesses?

Jun 28, 2012

Congress passed the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) in 1980 to give small entities a voice in the federal rulemaking process. Put simply, the RFA requires federal agencies to assess the economic impact of a planned regulation on small entities, and if a rule is determined to have a “significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities,” (SEISNOSE), the agencies must consider alternatives that would lessen those impacts.  

EU-U.S. Free Trade Deal Offers Painless Stimulus for Both

Jun 18, 2012
from Bloomberg

Copyright 2012 Bloomberg.
Bloomberg View Editors

Before the end of the month, U.S. and European Union trade officials will recommend whether to pursue a free-trade agreement.

Such a deal has the potential to jump-start economic growth and create millions of jobs, even as it sidesteps the paralyzing debate on both sides of the Atlantic over austerity versus stimulus. A trade agreement is necessary, achievable and urgent.

EPA, Health Care, Taxes Debated

Jun 1, 2012

EPA Official Takes Heat for Comments

More regulations only lead to less job creation—an ultimate failure. It is good to have clean air rules, but targeting industries that provide affordable energy and create good paying jobs is a travesty —Jeff Elijah via Facebook

I sent him [EPA regional administrator Al Armendariz] an email asking him if his children know that he talks about crucifying businesspeople. Shame on him. —Joe Pickett via FreeEnterprise.com

Consequential Elections

Jun 1, 2012

Every month through October, Election Spotlight will provide insight into the 2012 elections and their implications for business, free enterprise, and our nation’s prospects for strong economic growth.

Slow Progress on Pro-Growth Agenda

May 31, 2012

In June, I conclude my one-year term as Chamber chairman. This transition is a natural point in time to pause and take stock of our efforts to enact pro-growth policies in Washington over the past year.

Toward the Abyss

May 29, 2012

While the upcoming campaign and elections seem to grab the bulk of the news headlines, the outcome of the elections may not play the lead role in the drama unfolding in the economy. The next administration and the next Congress may be the ones to debate the fundamental issues of tax and budget reform. But the current administration and Congress may have more to say about the course of the economy over the next few years than most people realize.

April 2012 Quick Poll Results

May 2, 2012

What is your opinion of the two-year-old health care law?
Oppose it         86.6%

Support it        13.4

Has the health care law impacted hiring decisions at your business?

Yes                  57.1%

No                   42.9

Do you expect the health care law to reduce the cost of health care or significantly slow the rate of growth?

No                   85.8%

Yes                  14.2

Pave the Way for More Visitors

May 2, 2012

Our cover story this month focuses on the importance of trade to economic growth. When discussing trade, we can’t overlook one of our most valuable exports: foreign visitors to the United States. When foreign visitors spend their money here, it’s counted as an export. What’s more, travel is integral to conducting international business and facilitating trade. We should promote the United States as a premier destination and draw business and leisure travelers to our shores.

Standing Still and Falling Behind

Apr 23, 2012

On April 1, 2012, the United States achieved a dubious distinction: the highest corporate tax rate among major industrialized Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. As Japan dropped its corporate tax rate to 36.8%, the United States took the top spot. Japan’s move follows on the heels of other major countries such as Canada, which lowered its corporate tax rate to 15% earlier this year, and the United Kingdom, which dropped its rate from 26% to 24% the same day the United States clinched the top spot.

GUEST COLUMN: New Indicator Measures Health of Franchise Businesses

Mar 29, 2012

The franchise industry includes more than 825,000 franchise establishments supporting nearly 18 million workers. Franchising, used by brands as diverse as Dunkin’ Donuts, Meineke Car Centers, The UPS Store, Marriott International, H&R Block, ReMax Realty, and FASTSIGNS offers entrepreneurs a chance to pursue their dream of small business ownership using a proven, structured and scalable model.

March 2012 Quick Poll Results

Mar 28, 2012

What is the future of U.S. manufacturing?
It is growing stronger but will not reach the percentage of our total economy or employ as many people as it once did 48%
It is in decline, unable to compete globally 43%
It is poised for a complete recovery, recalling its glory days from decades ago 6%
Don’t know 3%

How concerned are you that rising gasoline prices will stall the economic recovery?
Very concerned  86%
Somewhat concerned  10%
Not concerned   4%

Readers Discuss Economy, Energy

Mar 28, 2012

THE ECONOMY

Unfortunately, for those of us unemployed or underemployed, the economy remains quite bad right now. Some who have been lucky enough to find full-time employment have found it in a field of work far different from their intended life’s work, such as people with a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in business or any other field of study finding full-time work as delivery truck drivers and that sort of thing to pay the bills as they continue to seek something in their field.—Francesco M. DiGiovanni [via Facebook]

An Anniversary Worth Noting

Mar 28, 2012

If you take a quick stroll through 20th century American history, important business milestones jump out.

1908: The T-Model Ford, the first affordable car, is produced.

1911: IBM, an iconic global brand, is founded.

1973: FedEx, which revolutionized logistics and parcel delivery, is created.

1975: Microsoft, the company with arguably the biggest impact on personal computing, is started.

Parsing the Jobs Numbers

Mar 22, 2012

The most recent labor market data show that total nonfarm payrolls rose 227,000 in February, after increasing by an upwardly revised 284,000 in January (originally reported at 243,000). Revisions for December and January pushed total nonfarm payrolls up by 61,000. The so-called household survey showed an employment gain of 428,000.

Opinion: Business and Government Need to Work Together

Mar 16, 2012

“The U.S. business community is confronted with a fundamental choice: Ignore Washington or work with it to fix the problems plaguing our economy.”

That's the opinion of William A. Galston, the Ezra Zilkha chair in Governance Studies at Brookings Institution, and Glenn Hutchins, co-founder of Silver Lake, a technology industry investment company, and vice-chairman of the board of the Brookings.

Readers Comment on Keystone

Feb 29, 2012

I hope they get this moving soon! Good to see Congress is standing up for Americans while our administration is busy trying to destroy us.—Christy Bartholomew (via www.FreeEnterprise.com)

All this would be fine if the pipe wasn’t made in China. Think about how many jobs this would have created. But I do agree we need the pipeline! I just hope they don’t sell the oil to China! Seems to me this is the idea!—mlong119 (via www.FreeEnterprise.com)

A State of Disunion

Feb 8, 2012

The president’s State of the Union (SOTU) address in January focused less on unity and more on inequality and punishing successful individuals and companies. The rhetoric was strident, and the facts were scarce or well hidden. So I thought it would be helpful to set the record straight.

The Current Economy

Readers Weigh In on Agencies, Gov. Daniels, Lawsuit

Feb 2, 2012

 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

All the regulation we might need is already contained in existing statutes. We do not need any more agencies. Existing agencies should be made to perform satisfactorily. More bureaucracy will solve nothing.—Gary Krantz, Longmont, CO

Guest Column: How Do We Unleash Free Enterprise? Here’s How

Jan 13, 2012

With unemployment at 8.5% at the start of an election year, we can expect politicians of all political stripes to fill the airways with their ideas for creating jobs. 

Many of their ideas will be good ones – and I’m sure I’ll agree with some and disagree with others.  But the surest way to create the jobs we need to return to full employment will require more than so-called “jobs programs.” It will require getting our economic engine – our private economy – running on all cylinders again.  We need to unleash our free enterprise system.

The Value of Free Enterprise Has Nothing to Do with Money or Wealth

Jan 9, 2012

There’s no doubt it’s been a rough few years for free enterprise in the United States. The financial crisis that began in 2007 is still a drag on the economy, and for every sign of recovery there’s another dark cloud on the horizon. Entrepreneurs are unsure about the future and skittish about investing their time, treasure, and talent in growing their businesses, much less starting new ones. President Obama’s stimulus package was a dud, and the unemployment rate today is 50 percent higher than what he promised would be the worst-case scenario.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jan 6, 2012

 

"The Chamber's power has grown enormously in the last decade under Chief Executive Tom Donohue, who has emphasized political engagement and building the organization's membership and treasury." --Los Angeles Times, November 16, 2011

Speak Out

Dec 6, 2011
How concerned are you that the ongoing European debt crisis will negatively impact your business?
  Response
Percent

Speak Out

Nov 29, 2011
How did the first weekend of holiday shopping impact your business?
  Response
Percent

Heard In and About the U.S. Chamber

Nov 23, 2011

 “The nation’s most prominent business group weighed into the debate over the nation’s debt, urging the supercommittee to cut more than its mandate of $1.2 trillion.”—From an October 28, 2011, Politico story mentioning the U.S. Chamber’s letter, signed by 200 businesses and organizations, to the congressional deficit supercommittee

No Double Dip

Nov 23, 2011

The pace of recovery picked up a bit in the third quarter indicating that we are not going to double dip into recession. But the latest economic data suggest that the economic recovery remains tepid at best.

Speak Out

Nov 22, 2011
Following the failure of the deficit supercommittee, which should happen next?
  Response
Percent

Speak Out

Nov 15, 2011
How should the Supreme Court rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the 2010 health care law?
  Response
Percent

Speak Out

Nov 8, 2011

What best describes your feelings about the economy today compared to 6 months ago?

Heard In and About the U.S. Chamber

Oct 27, 2011

“Passing these trade agreements represents a victory for American workers, American competitiveness, and American leadership. It means we will immediately stop losing jobs to our competitors who have cut their own deals, and we can start creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs for Americans.”—U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue quoted on the passage of three FTAs in Politico, October 13, 2011

Health Care, Economy on Readers’ Minds

Oct 26, 2011

Health Care Reform
While there are problems with the Health Reform Act, please understand that our firm’s Blue CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield premiums went down over 25% beginning November 1, 2011.  I can only attribute that to the Reform Act, since no other external events have taken place, and the insurance company is not lowering prices out of the goodness of their corporate hearts (and they should not).—P.J. Hirsch, Washington, DC

Speak Out

Oct 25, 2011

Speak Out

Oct 18, 2011

What do you think of Occupy Wall Street and similar protests around the country?

Where's the Spending?

Oct 17, 2011

The biggest problem facing the economy today is a lack of consumption. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) expanded at a paltry 0.7% pace in the second quarter, down from an anemic rate of only 2.1% in the first quarter. When consumption accounts for almost two-thirds of the economy, this rate of growth is simply too slow. When there are too few spenders, there is no reason to invest or hire new workers. So I thought that it might be informative to focus on consumption and what needs to be done to get people spending again.

No Growth, No Jobs, No Wonder

Sep 20, 2011

With the debt ceiling fight behind us and the supercommittee debate ahead, Washington has refocused, at least for a moment, on what it should have been focusing on all along—jobs. Everyone seems to wonder why we are not creating any new jobs. I would suggest a simple answer—insufficient economic growth. Thus, focusing on job growth, rather than on the underlying economic growth, may be  the wrong target.

Readers Tackle EPA Rules, Debt

Sep 20, 2011

Energy
We consume the same amount of energy whether we produce it from here or import it from areas of the world that are politically less stable. We have to realize and keep in the forefront of our minds that almost half a trillion dollars is leaving our nation every year in the form of foreign petroleum purchases. We have to make the effort to become self-sufficient before things get worse.—Sofia, Houston, TX

Readers Debate Debt Ceiling Deal

Aug 17, 2011

Spending reductions far more meaningful that what has been seriously discussed so far are needed, and they need to come soon. There are other solutions that will contribute, but they pale in importance. Good for the Chamber for realizing that this is just the beginning and that we must turn up the pressure to make D.C. act on this issue sooner rather than later.—J. Kyle Dougherty, Stratford, CT

Heard In and About the U.S. Chamber

Aug 16, 2011

“Uncertainty among companies about the rules of the road is keeping a lot of capital on the sidelines.” -- David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, quoted in The New York Times, July 18, 2011

“The Chamber, considered one of Washington’s most influential business groups, has quietly lobbied for a deficit deal in meetings with lawmakers.” – The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2011

Housing Holds a Key to Recovery

Aug 11, 2011

In searching for a growth catalyst, today’s idle home builders can put the U.S. economy on the growth trajectory that has failed to materialize in the past couple of years of so-called recovery. Housing—a sector responsible for a full 18% of economic activity in normal times—has led the way to higher ground following every recession in our post-World War II history.

Speak Out!

Aug 9, 2011
1. Are you satisfied with how Congress settled the debt ceiling crisis?
  Response
Percent

Speak Out!

Jul 26, 2011

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

Jul 25, 2011

“With our economic recovery stalling, the time is now for Congress to act on these [free trade] deals. This is a moment of truth.”—U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue quoted in The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2011

“We need to restore balance, restraint and common sense to the regulatory process. It’s time to open America for business again.”—U.S. Chamber Regulatory road show participants former Sen. Evan Bayh and former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card in an op-ed in The Washington Times, June 28, 2011

Regulations Fire Up Readers

Jul 25, 2011

The rules and regulations that have those of us in the construction industry jumping through smaller and smaller hoops these days are merely job preservation techniques devised by unelected bureaucrats. I am a general contractor trying to do mostly simple remodeling jobs, and I am getting delayed, extended, and nickled and dimed into extinction. The growing cost of permitting is ridiculous, but the delays due to compliance with inane stipulations and ever-changing regulatory requirements are driving me nuts!—Dennis Moloney, Delray Beach, FL

A Transportation and Energy Plan for America

Jul 1, 2011

We all feel the pain of rising oil prices—when we ship goods by truck or plane and when we fill up at the gas pump. U.S. families and businesses spent more than $900 billion on refined oil products in 2008.

Not only is our dependence on foreign oil expensive, it’s also risky. Too often, oil dependence requires us to accommodate hostile governments that share neither our values nor our goals, making both the United States and its allies vulnerable.

Speak Out!

Jun 28, 2011
1. Are you more inclined to invest in plant and equipment, rather than hire new employees?
  Response
Percent

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

Jun 21, 2011

“The fact of the matter is the economy is broad and diverse. And what this government has to do is get out of its way. And if it gets out of its way, business confidence will return.”—U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Marty Regalia on ABC’s This Week, June 5, 2011

Reader Debate on Ryan Budget Continues

Jun 21, 2011

I applaud and wholeheartedly support Congressman Ryan for having the courage and wisdom to address the Social Security and Medicare entitlement spending threats head on. Heretofore politicians have simply “nibbled around the edges” of government’s spending binge. The fact remains that Social Security and Medicare represent the majority of government spending.  There is absolutely no way to pay down our debt and balance the federal budget unless we restructure these programs.

Comprehensive: The Right Way to Tax Reform

Jun 21, 2011

There has been a lot of chatter lately in Washington about tax reform. As Washington contemplates raising the debt ceiling and possible deficit reduction measures, some wonder if tax reform should be part of those efforts.

Speak Out!

Jun 7, 2011

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

May 11, 2011

“We have a chance in the weeks ahead to create American jobs, reaffirm vital alliances, and show that the United States can still lead.”--U.S. Chamber Vice President of International Affairs John Murphy on pending U.S. free trade agreements, quoted in The Washington Post, May 5, 2011

Sustainable Growth Despite Uncertainty

May 11, 2011

The latest economic data suggest that the economy hit another slow patch in the first quarter of this year as oil prices rose in the wake of political unrest in the Mediterranean and as the tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan raised uncertainty here. However, we still expect the economy to shake off the doldrums and move ahead over the remainder of this year. In its initial estimate of first quarter real GDP, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the economy grew at only a 1.8% annual rate, down from about 3.0% in the second half of last year.

Readers Tackle the Budget, Education

May 11, 2011

Rep. Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan

I agree we need to seriously consider Ryan’s budget plan. There are some very sensible ideas in it, and if we don’t take some action, we’re all going to be riding bikes to work. At least it is a place to start. Increased taxes on business owners/the wealthy and expansion of government and its workforce has never brought the economy into prosperity!—Lucy Harris, Palm Springs, CA

Readers Debate Energy

May 1, 2011

Stalled Energy Projects

There is a phrase in the bill of rights that says “pursuit of happiness.” What does that truly mean? Seems it means the ability to stop others from “pursuit of their happiness.” I can understand people not wanting an eyesore in their backyards, but they are the first to complain about high energy costs.—Joe Kostelac, Kansas City, MO

Results Are In!

May 1, 2011

Below are the responses to our March Quick Poll.

1) What part of the health care law do you find most burdensome?
1099 mandate   51.8%
Employer mandate  14.6
New rules for FSAs and HSAs 16.8
Higher taxes   16.8

2) Would you be more likely to export if U.S. goods received the same treatment as foreign competitors’ goods and if you were guaranteed export financing?
Yes  48.4%
No  44.8
Already export 6.8

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

May 1, 2011

“The Washington-based Chamber has protested an ‘explosion’ of federal rules in the past few years that the group said cost the economy $1.7 trillion a year. Chamber President Thomas Donohue urged officials on Jan. 11 to ‘rein in excessive regulation,’ and a week later President Barack Obama ordered elimination of rules that hamper economic growth.”—Bloomberg, March 2, 2011

Taxes: Who Pays?

May 1, 2011

Last month, we took a first look at some of the tax change proposals from the administration’s budget. If we are going to get serious about tax reform, we had better understand the basics and not just the baloney sometimes printed in the press. So I thought that it may be a good idea this month, with Tax Day fresh in the rearview mirror, to examine just how much the federal government collects and from whom it collects it.

Speak Out!

Apr 26, 2011

Your voice counts. Respond to the following four questions and receive instant results.

Infrastructure Investment Essential for Rebuilding Economy

Apr 4, 2011

There is no more important time than this moment to be thinking long term, rebuilding a solid economic foundation for our country, and investing in good jobs to maintain U.S. competitiveness with countries like China, India, and Germany.There are 13.9 million unemployed workers in the United States and millions more who are underemployed or stuck in part-time jobs. Building and construction trades workers have been particularly hard hit, with a national unemployment level at 22.5%—and even higher in some crafts and areas of the country.

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

Apr 1, 2011

"The Chamber has been a leader in efforts to force changes in the bureau, arguing that it isn’t accountable enough and might issue regulations that would hinder consumer and business access to credit."
—Associated Press on the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by last year’s financial regulatory reform law, March 16, 2011

Readers Discuss Obama’s Visit to the Chamber

Apr 1, 2011

I would prefer that the Chamber and the GOP attempt to work with the administration to improve the new health care law passed in the last Congress, rather than gut it and return to the system that existed before the passage of the new law. I trust the Chamber will do what it has always done in representing the interests of American business—lead, not posture.–Michael R. Taylor, Doylestown, PA

It says something that President Obama chose to go to the U.S. Chamber in an effort to
cull a relationship. He obviously sees the importance attached to the work done by the U.S. Chamber and by chambers around the country. I’m hoping this is a first step in a dialogue that accomplishes something more than inspired rhetoric.—Patricia L. Ritchie, President and CEO, Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield CT

I believe it’s important that the Chamber work with the administration to the degree that American enterprise is bolstered and released from unnecessary and burdensome regulations and damaging taxation. Also, although the president suggested that business owners like me start hiring more people, it is impossible to do so without a vibrant and fruitful marketplace. Fewer business opportunities equate to less hiring—pretty simple equation!—Wayne Gatewood, Annandale, VA

I understand the ‘high road’ position that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking. However, I have my doubts about how well [the president] will work with a group that he has shunned and refused to work with in the past. The president has also said that he believes we must be fiscally responsible; however, he puts forth a budget that is still too expensive for the American taxpayer. I hope for change, but I doubt it will be the change we all really need.—Mark Tetreault, Waconia, MN

If you criticize the president for being anti-business, you are simply not listening. He’s supporting the things businesses need to start, grow, and sustain themselves. Because he can’t answer all the tough questions about how to fund and implement them doesn’t mean he doesn’t support them. Take a moment to listen, and then become someone who will help find solutions. We’ve all grown tired of the cynicism.—Howard Lee, Orlando, FL

The point is [the president] made the move to open communications with the Chamber. What the Chamber does now is what people will judge the Chamber for in the future. I would like to see more suggestions and constructive comments that help small businesses get ahead and understand what the issues mean. Please do not polarize the Chamber with politics and mirror the media rhetoric. We need you to be neutral and show leadership.—Carl, Los Angeles, CA

Like most of the American public, I am tired of the constant partisan bickering and
name-calling. There is a lot of work to be done, and we better get on with it as a team of committed Americans rather than as a gaggle of geese, squawking about how we are always right and ‘they’ are always wrong. When America has been great it was because we were united behind a cause—never because we held each other in contempt.—Robert, St. Louis, MO

New Budget … Old Policies

Apr 1, 2011

On February 7, when President Obama came to address the Chamber, he broke the ice by remarking that maybe he should have brought over a fruitcake when he first moved into the neighborhood to get things off on a better foot. While it was a nice way to begin, everyone was anxiously waiting to see if the change in rhetoric would lead to a change in action. A week later, on Valentine’s Day, the first hint of an answer arrived in the form of the Greenbook, the administration’s budget proposals, and it certainly wasn’t the fruitcake the business community was expecting.

Speak Out!

Mar 8, 2011

Your voice counts. Respond to the following four questions and receive instant results.

 

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

Mar 1, 2011

I strolled over from across the street, and, look, maybe if we had brought over a fruitcake when I first moved in, we would have gotten off to a better start. But I’m going to make up for it.
—President Obama on his relationship with the U.S. Chamber during his speech there on February 7

I think the election was a wake-up call for the administration. That caused them to rethink their general approach to economic growth and job creation.
—U.S. Chamber Board Chairman Tom Bell quoted in the Atlanta Business Journal, January 31, 2011

Results Are In!

Mar 1, 2011

Below are the responses to our February Quick Poll.

1. Would you support a tax increase, if combined with spending cuts, to reduce the budget deficit and national debt?
Yes   38.7%
No   61.3

2. Would you support an increase in the federal gas and diesel tax if the proceeds were dedicated to investment in roads, highways, and public transportation?
Yes   40.3%
No   59.7

Readers Debate Regulation Overload

Mar 1, 2011

If our state and federal governments had as many people working to keep me IN business as they have working to keep me OUT of business, the U.S.A. would once again be the land of opportunity!
—Al Hicks, Laurel, MT

Results Are In!

Feb 8, 2011

1. Would you support a tax increase, if combined with spending cuts, to reduce the budget deficit and national debt?
Yes   38.7%
No   61.3%

2. Would you support an increase in the federal gas and diesel tax if the proceeds were dedicated to investment in roads, highways, and public transportation?
Yes   40.3%
No   59.7%

3. Do you plan to make capital investments in your business in 2011 because of the one-year 100% bonus depreciation?
Yes   34%
No   66%

Readers Debate Tax Bill

Feb 1, 2011

This is the best compromise that could come along. In the past, I have been out of work and thank the Lord I am working now. But the tax cut extension will encourage families to spend on items they need, and businesses will purchase supplies and hire. And that is all we can hope for with the economy moving so very slowly toward recovery. Of course,this is not the perfect solution, but it’s a great start.
—Pat Kistler, Carpinteria, CA

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

Feb 1, 2011

"[Tom Donohue’s] remarks placed the chamber, the country’s most influential trade association, at the center of Washington’s economic debate, making it both partner and antagonist 
to both the administration 
and Republicans."
—The Associated Press, on Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue’s State of American Business address, January 11, 2011

Growth Stronger, but Still Too Slow

Feb 1, 2011

 

Recent economic reports indicate that the economy is continuing to gradually improve. This is vital because until we surpass our long-run potential rate of growth, we will not create enough jobs to reemploy those displaced during the recession. Now, we need to push the accelerator to reach our goal of reemploying all those displaced during the recent downturn.

Quick Poll

Jan 7, 2011

Your voice counts. Give us your opinion by responding to the following questions.

 

Results Are In!

Jan 1, 2011

How has the sluggish economy impacted your pricing?
Raised prices over the past 6 months   15.6%
Lowered prices   39.3
Kept prices the same   45.1

Heard in and About the U.S. Chamber

Jan 1, 2011

We cannot allow this nation to move from a government of the people to a government of the regulators.
—Chamber President and CEO
Tom Donohue quoted in The New York Times, November 18, 2010


Readers Comment on Government Debt

Jan 1, 2011

This issue is the single most important challenge of this century. Our national debt has reached the point of crisis for our economy, for the size of our federal and state deficits, for the strength of our currency, and for the survival of future generations. It’s time to plan to pay it back!
—Peter Kingston, South Pasadena, CA

Readers Weigh In on Midterm Elections

Dec 1, 2010

We need to have more ordinary people in Washington and fewer lawyers. And we need term limits. The politicians should have to debate on TV, on our tax dollar, and have so much to spend and no more. The way campaigns are run these days, we have accusations following slander following accusations. No one talks of solutions. They speak in sound bites full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.
—Barbara Beitel, Cape May Court House, NJ

Speak Out!

Dec 1, 2010

Your voice counts. Respond to the following four questions and receive instant results.

Heard in and About
the U.S. Chamber

Dec 1, 2010

"There is a potential here for some bipartisan movement."
—U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten commenting on the new Congress to Bloomberg, November 3, 2010

Speak Out!

Dec 1, 2010

Your voice counts. Respond to the following four questions and receive instant results.

Results are in!

Nov 4, 2010

1. How confident are you that your business will pick up in the next six months?
Not at all confident: 61.4%
Somewhat confident: 27.6
Very confident: 11.0

2. What are your plans over the next six months regarding your employees?
Lay off employees -- 13.1%
Reduce some employees’ hours: 24.1
Maintain the current number of employees and their hours: 51.8
Hire new employees: 11.0

Readers Discuss “Waiting for ‘Superman’”

Nov 1, 2010

I  think I’ll pass on this movie. I’m in agreement that the educational system needs reform, but I’d have a hard time taking anything seriously that was produced by the same group that produced “An Inconvenient Truth.” It has a solid liberal bias, and I expect the new movie to be the same.
—Greg Brainerd, Livingston, MT

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Nov 1, 2010

When we knock down barriers in [overseas] markets, we create jobs here. We’ve got to trade to create jobs in our country.
—Myron Brilliant, Chamber Senior Vice President of International Affairs, quoted in The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2010

Stuck in a Slow Patch

Oct 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist,
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Sounding Off on Regulation and Elections

Oct 1, 2010

Regulation

Each additional regulation issued gives the government more power over business, and business is subject to more paperwork, fines, and fees. More regulation only hampers business and gives power and control to the government. A business owner knows what’s best for his business, and politicians only want power over those whom they supposedly serve.
—Alan Chen, San Gabriel, CA

Speak Out!

Oct 1, 2010

Your voice counts. Respond to the following four questions and receive instant results.

Results are In!

Sep 1, 2010

1 Do you intend to vote in the November midterm elections?
Yes   99.5%
No   0.2%
Maybe   0.3%

2 What issue will be the biggest factor in determining how you vote?
Government spending    47.1%
Unemployment rate/overall health of the economy   39.7%
Energy and the environment   3.5%
National security   2.2%
Social issues   2.9%
Other    4.6%

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Sep 1, 2010

"The bottom line is, they've still got juice. They still have major influence on Capitol Hill."
--Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), discussing the U.S. Chamber in The Washington Post, July 22, 2010
 
Chamber President Tom Donohue told a mix of small business owners and lobbyists that 'we risk moving this country away from a government of the people to a government of regulators.'
--The Wall Street Journal reporting on the Chamber's Jobs Summit, July 14, 2010

Your Feedback

Sep 1, 2010

Readers Offer Ideas for Job Growth

We asked Free Enterprise Weekly subscribers to tell us what they think government should do to help create jobs. Here’s what some of them said.

The American Nightmare

Sep 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist,
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Heard In and About the U.S. Chamber

Aug 1, 2010

"Guns for all, free speech for some."
--The Chamber's Bruce Josten quoted in The New York Times on the National Rifle Association's exemption from legislation limiting political free speech, June 18, 2010

Readers Weigh In on a VAT, Energy

Aug 1, 2010

Value Added Tax

We left Canada in the 1990s when it implemented a VAT, called GST for Goods and Services Tax. In my opinion, if you want to see a mass exodus of manufacturers, professionals, etc., to other countries, advocate for a VAT. I never thought that I would see the United States in this situation!
—C. Oliver, Murrieta, CA

Speak Out!

Aug 1, 2010

Your voice counts—give us your thoughts about the upcoming elections.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jul 1, 2010

"U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue has a clear message for Big Labor: Stop getting in the way of U.S. trade expansion and costing the country jobs."
--Politico, May 17, 2010

"It is a job-protection bill for incumbent lawmakers in Washington."
--The Chamber's Bruce Josten on legislation to limit corporate free speech in elections, quoted in The Hill, May 26, 2010

So Far … So Good

Jul 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist,
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Results Are In!

Jul 1, 2010

1. Do you use social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, blogs) in your business?
Yes, regularly   22.6%
Yes, but not very often   22.2%
No   55.2%

2. How well do you understand the new health care law?
Have a good grasp of it   11.2%
Know enough to be comfortable   22.1%
Know very little   57.4%
Don’t have a clue   9.3%

Jobs, Health Care Stir Up Debates

Jul 1, 2010

Job Creation

I watched the [Chamber’s Governors Summit] on C-SPAN and can’t tell you how impressed I was with the discussion content. I have downloaded the Enterprising States study and shared it with several key members of our community. I am chairman of Centralina Workforce Development, and the content of this document will be discussed at our upcoming retreat. The study is a must read for those of us who are interested in creating jobs in our community.
—Bob VanGorden, Concord/Charlotte, NC

Readers React to Energy, Free Enterprise

Jun 1, 2010

Energy

[The Chamber’s] positions seem reasonable with the exception of the global warming issue. Most scientists agree we have a problem, so let’s address this for the long term instead of wasting funds fighting the inevitable.
—Ray Heffron, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jun 1, 2010

"The Chamber is helping lead the charge in finding a solution to our nation’s challenge of creating jobs and revitalizing the economy."
--Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Dow Jones Newswire, May 3, 2010

"Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue called it 'nothing more than a brazen attempt to tilt the playing field in favor of the incumbent party in this fall's elections.' "
--Investor's Business Daily, on the Van Hollen-Schumer campaign finance bill, May 4, 2010

Speak Out!

Jun 1, 2010

Your voice counts—tell us how you use social media to promote your business.

What You Should Know About a VAT

Jun 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Lately, you can’t open a newspaper without seeing a story on the value added tax (VAT). Newspapers write, “Will the VAT Lady Sing?” and “Value Added Tax: Will It Solve Our Budget Woes?”

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

May 1, 2010

"Small businesses are also concerned that the agency would have unchecked authority to write its own rules without oversight ...
--David Hirschmann, president and CEO, U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, on the proposed CFPA, in an April 10, 2010, New York Times letter to the editor

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its pugilistic president, Tom Donohue, fought hard to defeat the health care law ... many business lobbyists applaud their gargantuan efforts."
--National Journal, March 25, 2010

Results Are In!

May 1, 2010

1. Which of the following is the biggest challenge to your business?
High taxes   31.9%
Burdensome regulations   27.1
Health care affordability   21.7
Other   19.3

2. Are you satisfied with the outcome of health care reform in Washington?
No   87.0%
Yes   11.8
No opinion   1.2

3. Do you think Congress is moving in the right direction on financial regulatory reform?
No   82.4%
Yes   11.9
No opinion   5.7

Health Care, Trade Spark Reactions

May 1, 2010

Health Care

I have been a successful business owner for 30 years, and I can tell you without doubt that this bill will kill businesses, which will kill jobs, which will kill your big-money people who you are relying on to pay for a huge portion of this bill, etc., etc. It will be a chain reaction that will ultimately bankrupt the country— it’s basic economics and Mathematics 101.
—Mike Kelsey, Northridge, CA

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Apr 1, 2010

"By making job creation the rhetorical centerpiece of its campaign [for free enterprise] last fall, the Chamber was quicker than other business groups, and faster than the Obama administration, to try to tap the political potency of the unemployment issue."
--National Journal, February 20, 2010

"The Chamber is certainly better positioned than ever to be a major force on the issues and elections it focuses on each year."
--Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2010

CFPA, Health Care Generate Debate

Apr 1, 2010

Financial Regulatory Reform

Enough already! Let’s get the principals together and have a good old-fashioned debate on the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
Pat Callahan, Front Royal, VA

Some firewalls might be a good idea, along with some tighter capital requirements. However, we do not need another bureaucracy like the proposed CFPA. This sounds just like another scheme to grab more power and control over business owners.
Jay Stanford, Missoula, MT

Speak Out!

Apr 1, 2010

Your voice counts—tell us how economic conditions are affecting your business.

Tax Facts: Where the $ Comes From

Apr 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist,
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Tax Day 2010 is upon us. As we fill out our tax forms—or, more likely, wait for our return preparer to complete them—we may wonder just how much the federal government collects and what part we play in the whole scheme of things.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Mar 1, 2010

"...business will always be the true engine of job creation in this country."
--President Barack Obama, in a February 1 letter to Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue

"Labor's agenda is stalled, and they'll have to drop the big ticket items. But they'll no doubt try to move smaller but still significant initiatives."
--Randy Johnson, Chamber senior vice president, quoted in The Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2010

Results Are In!

Mar 1, 2010

1. What is the number one way you think government can help create jobs?
-Cut taxes/provide tax incentives    62.8%
-Invest in infrastructure                     12.7
-Expand lending                                     7.6
-Increase exports                                  5.1
-Promote investments in energy       3.3
-Other                                                           8.5

El Gordo!

Mar 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Feb 1, 2010

“Congress, the administration, and states must recognize that our weak economy simply could not sustain all the new taxes, regulations and mandates now under consideration. It’s a sure-fire recipe for a double-dip recession, or worse.”
—Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue quoted in The Hill, January 12, 2010

“The Chamber still wields clout on Capitol Hill, and its opposition to proposed reforms such as the Consumer Financial Protection Agency has swayed moderate Democrats.”
Financial Times, January 13, 2010

Slow and Steady Growth in 2010

Feb 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The economy and the labor market are continuing to improve gradually, more in fits and starts rather than leaps and bounds.

Results Are In!

Jan 1, 2010

Below are responses to our December Quick Poll.

1. What are your hiring plans in the next six months?
Of those responding, 66.3% say they will maintain their current workforce. Only 14.4% plan to hire new employees, while 19.3% plan layoffs.

2. Do you have plans to increase your investment in plant or equipment?
Only about a quarter of the respondents plan to increase investments in the next 3 to 12 months; 72% have no plans.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jan 1, 2010

"Despite coming under attack from the White House, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not letting up in its bid to change the Democratic healthcare reform proposals moving through Congress."
--U.S. News & World Report, November 20, 2009

"While the government can help support some jobs in the short run, the only way to meet this challenge over the long term is through a vibrant and dynamic free enterprise system."
--Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue, quoted by CNNMoney.com, December 2, 2009

Speak Out!

Jan 1, 2010

Your voice counts -- tell us how economic conditions are affecting your business.

Deficits and Debt

Jan 1, 2010


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Dec 1, 2009

"We want to be able to challenge the president on issues without making it personal or without weakening the presidency, because that’s bad for our country. We enjoy exercising our constitutional right to petition the government."
--Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue quoted in Politico, October 26, 2009

Some Good, Bad, and Ugly

Dec 1, 2009


Dr. Martin Regalia
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist,
Economic Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Speak Out!

Dec 1, 2009

Your voice counts -- tell us how economic conditions are affecting your business.

Home Sales Should Continue to Recover

Sep 30, 2009

 
October 6, 2009—Second quarter GDP was upwardly revised and pending home sales posted another strong month in August. However, employment numbers were disappointing, and small decreases in consumer confidence and the ISM Index show that the road to recovery will be bumpy and uneven.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Sep 30, 2009

 
"What matters is not whether the AFL-CIO has cut a new backroom deal on the bill, it is whether it can be sold to Senate moderates who are worried about saving jobs, especially their own."
—Steven J. Law, U.S. Chamber chief legal officer and general counsel, on Sen. Arlen Specter's (D-PA) prediction that a revised card check bill will pass this year, as quoted in The Washington Post, September 15, 2009

Turning the Corner

Sep 1, 2009

Dr. Martin Regalia

Although it may be some time before we get the official word from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the U.S. economy finally appears to have turned the corner, and an end to the recession is in sight. The S&P 500 broke the 1,000 level, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 9,000, housing sales and starts have increased of late and prices are stabilizing, and credit market spreads are down significantly from the levels seen six months ago. 

Inflation Remains in Check

Aug 31, 2009

 
September 22, 2009—Last week's retail sales and new residential construction reports were both upbeat. Inflation remains contained in the short-term.

Fed Says Recession Is Likely Over

Aug 31, 2009

 
September 29, 2009—Last week saw the release of positive housing reports and an announcement by the Fed that the recession has likely ended.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Aug 31, 2009

 
"If they feel compelled to respond and react to our messages, I take that as a compliment. I think that means we have created a dialogue."
— Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice Presidenton labor unions' plans to launch a campaign against the Chamber, quoted in Politico, July 7, 2009

"A fortress for the business community, the Chamber has emerged as a multitasking, multimillion-dollar defender of the private sector ..."
—Associated Press, August 9, 2009

Consumer Confidence Stabilizes

Aug 31, 2009

 
September 1, 2009—New home sales surged in July, and second quarter GDP was not revised downwards, as some economists expected. Consumer confidence stabilized after falling the previous two months.

Results Are In!

Jul 31, 2009

 
Below are your responses to our June Quick Poll.

1. How do you rate President Obama's performance on economic issues?

Respondents overwhelmingly gave the president poor marks for his handling of economic issues. "This response is not surprising given the administration's propensity to increase spending and raise taxes," says U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Marty Regalia.

2. How do you rate Congress' performance on economic issues?

Existing Home Sales Surge

Jul 31, 2009

 
August 25, 2009—Existing home sales surged in July and the Index of Leading Indicators posted its fourth consecutive increase.

On the Verge of Recovery?

Jul 31, 2009

 
August 4, 2009—Major economic indicators released last week generally paint a picture of an economy on the verge of recovery. The economy slowed at a much slower pace and new home sales experienced strong gains. 

Expect Positive Growth

Jul 31, 2009

 
August 11, 2009—Economic indicators were mixed last week, but the general trend suggests that the pace of economic decline continues to slow and that positive economic growth should return in the third quarter.

Downturn Is Leveling off

Jul 31, 2009

 
August 18, 2009—The Fed's statement confirms the general consensus that's been forming that the economic downturn is leveling off. Other data released this week also confirms this view, as the trade gap widened, retail sales were only slightly off, and the Consumer Price Index was unchanged for the month.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jul 31, 2009

 
"The Chamber is gravely concerned by the process and the product thus far. As badly as [health care] reform is needed, we cannot support reform just for the sake of reform."
—Randy Johnson, U.S. Chamber senior vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, quoted by Dow Jones Newswires, June 11, 2009

"The Chamber's 'Campaign for Free Enterprise' attempts to weave together a coordinated response to the many regulatory and other threats that worry business interests."
BusinessWeek, June 11, 2009

June's Job Losses Underscore Recession

Jun 30, 2009

 
July 7, 2009—June's job losses were far greater than May's, and consumer confidence took a hit. Pending home sales barely budged, while the ISM Survey remains below the expansionary threshold.

Has the Housing Market Finally Hit Bottom?

Jun 30, 2009

 
July 21, 2009—New residential construction increased, signaling that the housing market seems to have finally found a bottom. Inflation appears to be in control, but the news on retail sales and industrial production is not as good.

Home Sales Up, Unemployment Figures Mixed

Jun 30, 2009

 
July 28, 2009—Existing home sales were up, as was the Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators. The labor market, however, continues to deteriorate, as initial jobless claims increased by 30,000.

Has the Economy Reached the Bottom Yet?

Jun 30, 2009

Dr. Martin Regalia

In the classic film Being There, the late, great Peter Sellers portrayed a gardener who accidentally rises to fame by using simple gardening analogies and being misinterpreted as a wise counselor. This popped into my mind when I heard all the discussion of late about the "green shoots of recovery" and a possible end to the current downturn. At some risk of calling a recovery too soon, I think that the current data are clearly signaling a much less steep decline in the second quarter and the likely end to the recession before year-end.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jun 30, 2009

 
"The administration has displayed an insatiable appetite for spending, and they need to get money wherever they can. So they use the tax code the way Willie Sutton used a gun."
—Chamber Chief Economist Marty Regalia quoted in the Los Angeles Times on President Obama's plans to increase corporate taxes, May 12, 2009

"[The U.S. Chamber's Tom Donohue and Bruce Josten] are good at finding consensus among their members and then communicating their message on CapitolHill."
The Hill, May 22, 2009

Indicators Point to Easing Downturn

May 31, 2009

 
June 16, 2009—All signs point to an easing in the downturn as retail sales posted a small increase, the trade balance was relatively unchanged, and the number of new weekly jobless claims showed minor improvement.

Economic Downturn Moderating

May 31, 2009

 
June 9, 2009—The economic downturn seems to be moderating, as fewer jobs were lost in May than in previous months and as manufacturing and housing data showed improvement.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

May 31, 2009

 
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has found a surprising number of places to agree with President Barack Obama's agenda and is negotiating the specifics in daily meetings with the Treasury Department, the West Wing, and Capitol Hill."
Politico, April 14, 2009

Housing Starts Surge in May

May 31, 2009

 
June 23, 2009—New residential construction surged in May, but last week's other major economic indicators were relatively flat.

Consumer Confidence Skyrockets

May 31, 2009

 
June 2, 2009—First quarter GDP was revised upwards slightly, existing home sales and new homes sales posted modest gains, and consumer confidence skyrocketed.

Deferral Is Not a Dirty Word

May 31, 2009

Dr. Martin Regalia

Throughout his campaign, candidate Barack Obama threatened to raise taxes on "companies that ship jobs overseas" without ever specifying what exactly he meant. Recently, President Obama released some of the details of his proposed tax increases, and we are beginning to see exactly what he had in mind-and the details aren't good news.

Is the Worst Behind Us?

Apr 30, 2009

 
May 19, 2009—Retail sales fell 0.4%, the Consumer Price Index was unchanged, the Producer Price Index rose 0.3%, and the trade deficit posted a small widening. These small variations from month-earlier data provide hope that the worst of the recession has past.

Is the Housing Market Making a Rebound?

Apr 30, 2009

 
May 26, 2009—It appears the housing market is inching into recovery, and the Conference Board Leading Indicator Index posted its first increase since June 2008.

Results Are In!

Apr 30, 2009

 
Below are your responses to our March Quick Poll.

1. When do you expect the economy to start showing improvement?

Of those responding, 53% expect the economy to start improving before the middle of next year. Some 27% say it won't happen until after 2010.

2. What are your staffing plans for the next six months?

3. Do you have plans to modernize or increase investment in plant or equipment?

The Presidents Budget

Apr 30, 2009

Dr. Martin Regalia

A couple of months ago, the president unveiled his budget outline for the next 10 years. As is customary with a new administration, the proposal was not detailed, but it did provide the broad outline and goals for the new administration.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Apr 30, 2009

 
"I value the Chamber's input on promoting economic stability and growth and improving our nation's  competitiveness in today's sink-or-swim economy."
-Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) on receiving the Chamber's Spirit of Enterprise Award on  March 26, 2009

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a lot of resources for aspiring business owners online, including tools for self-examination."
-Killeen (TX) Daily News, April 5, 2009

Funds Rate Remains Unchanged

Apr 30, 2009

 
May 5, 2009—Gross Domestic Product decreased at a 6.1% annual rate. The Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing survey improved in April but remains weak. The Federal Reserve left the federal funds rate unchanged.

Unemployment Continues to Climb

Apr 30, 2009

May 12, 2009—Unemployment rose again, but pending home sales increased for the second consecutive month and productivity grew.

Dim Retail, Housing Numbers in March

Mar 31, 2009

 
April 21, 2008—Retail sales, the Producer Price Index, and new residential construction all declined in March, signaling that the economy remains entrenched in a recession.

Signs of a Stabilizing Economy?

Mar 31, 2009

 
April 7, 2008—The unemployment rate rose to 8.5% in March as the labor market shed another 663,000 jobs. However, indicators measuring consumer confidence, manufacturing, and pending home sales have shown some signs that the economy may be stabilizing.

Jobless Claims Fall Slightly

Mar 31, 2009

 
April 14, 2008—Overall, the latest indicators show consumers continue to reign in their spending. Imports fell by 5.1% and consumer credit fell by $7.5 billion as consumers seek ways to save, thus driving down demand. The job market shows some tenuous signs of recovery. Initial weekly jobless claims fell by 20,000.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Mar 31, 2009

 
"Business groups, led by ... the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are already gearing up to fight any EPA move to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, fearing costly new mandates."
The Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2009

Housing Market Still Searching for a Bottom

Mar 31, 2009

 
April 28, 2009—Last week's economic data was mostly negative, which fits with the U.S. Chamber's current view that the economy is still in decline but that the rate of decline may be slowing. Orders for durable goods declined in March, as did sales of new and existing homes.

Predawn Darkness?

Feb 28, 2009

Dr. Martin Regalia

My mother always said, "It is darkest just before dawn," while my dad, who ran a small business his whole life, was more of a "it's darkest just before it goes pitch black!" kind of guy.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Feb 28, 2009

 
"The House of Representatives passed two so-called pay equity bills that will have severe and serious consequences for American small business. That's why I stood with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and similar groups in strong opposition to these bills."
—Rep. Michele Bachmann
(R-MN) in a letter to the editor for ABC Newspapers, January 30, 2009

"By sticking to its principles—supporting capitalism and trade at a time when Washington is wobbly on both—the Chamber shows extraordinary courage."
—Forbes, March 2, 2009

FOMC: Interest Rates to Remain at Current Levels

Feb 28, 2009

 
March 24, 2009—The Federal Reserve agreed to keep interest rates at their current levels and announced the purchase of debt and long-term Treasury securities. In February, the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index both increased as energy prices come off their lows in late 2008. Also, new residential construction rose 22% in February.

Corporate Profits Suffer Largest Ever Decline

Feb 28, 2009

 
March 31, 2009—The latest batch of economic data offered some surprising news, as orders for durable goods increased while sales of existing and new homes rose as well. However, Gross Domestic Product growth in the fourth quarter of 2008 was revised downward.

GDP Experiences Biggest Quarterly Decline Since 1982

Feb 28, 2009

 
March 3, 2009—The Gross Domestic Product fell sharply in the fourth quarter of 2008, and consumer confidence hit yet another record low in February. January existing and new home sales both declined.

Unemployment Rate Reaches Highest Level Since 1982

Feb 28, 2009

 
March 10, 2009—In February, firms continued to shed employees and business confidence essentially remained flat. Pending home sales declined in January after increasing in December.

Results Are In!

Jan 31, 2009

 
In December, we asked for your opinions in our Quick Poll. Below are your respon-
ses. Look for future surveys to tell us what you think.

1. How do you see the economy six months from now?

Nearly 25% of respondents expect a stronger economy in six months, up from 21% in August. Some 40% expect a weaker economy, down from 41% in August. About 35% expect the economy to be the same in six months.

2. What impact do you think the new Congress and new administration will have on your business? 

Labor Market: No Relief in Sight

Jan 31, 2009

 
February 17, 2009—More than a half million people filed for initial jobless benefits for the week ending February 7. U.S. trade in goods and services declined again in December. Retail sales rose 1.0% in January, though sales are far off their year-ago mark.

Wintry Mix?

Jan 31, 2009

Dr. Martin Regalia

You have to love weather forecasters. When the outlook calls for freezing rain, sleet, snow, and ice-truly horrid driving conditions-they cheerily label it a wintry mix. It just sounds so much better! Well, if it works for the weather, why not for the economy? So, while the real economy remains mired in the depths of a serious economic downturn with rapidly rising unemployment, plummeting wealth, falling consumption and investment, and slowing export growth, let's just call it an economic wintry mix. There, don't we all feel better?

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jan 31, 2009

 
"We'll be supportive of a measure that's going to stimulate consumption, stimulate business investment, and stimulate job creation as well as job retention. That's what we need."
—Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten, PBS's Nightly Business Report, January 5, 2009

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is putting on a full court press for temporary relief for business."
—CNBC on the Chamber's role in the stimulus package negotiations, January 22, 2009

Consumer Prices See First Increase in 6 Months

Jan 31, 2009

 
February 24, 2009—In January, consumer prices increased for the first time since July, and producer prices for finished goods also increased. Industrial production took another hit, and the housing market continued to struggle as new residential construction plunged.

More Than 500,000 Jobs Lost in January

Jan 31, 2009

 
February 10, 2009—The employment situation continued to deteriorate in January, as employers shed 598,000 jobs. Manufacturing remained sluggish; the ISM posted an increase in January, but remains well below the threshold for expansion. Factory Orders fell as demand continued to decrease. Last, pending home sales increased as buyers were enticed by low mortgage rates and home prices.

GDP Shows Steepest Decline Since 1982

Jan 31, 2009

 
February 3, 2009—The decline in GDP in the fourth quarter was the steepest in 27 years. Consumer confidence and new home sales also took big hits. The federal funds rate stayed between 0%
and 0.25%

Poll Data: Voters Align With Growth Agenda

Dec 31, 2008

 
American voters strongly support the U.S. Chamber's policy agenda to grow the economy and create jobs.

Poll data show that a majority of registered voters (77%) said that they oppose tax hikes now, favor new trade agreements (58%), support upgrading and modernizing the infrastructure (95%), support increased drilling and market-driven solutions to developing alternative and renewable energy (67%), and prefer federally supervised secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns to a card check method favored by labor unions (71%).

Stabilization and Stimulus

Dec 31, 2008

Dr. Martin Regalia

Well, it's official. We are in a recession. In November, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared that the economy officially entered a recession in December 2007. That's right! One year after we started declining, NBER told us what most people already knew-all was not right in our economy.

Growth in Home Sales Hits 6-Year High

Dec 31, 2008

 
January 27, 2009—New residential construction posted another hefty loss in December, but existing home sales increased. The Conference Board's Leading Indicators Index increased in December.

International Trade Declines

Dec 31, 2008

 
January 21, 2009—Falling energy prices and weak consumer demand contributed to a decline in international trade in November. In December, retail sales declined 2.7%, the Consumer Price Index fell 0.7%, and the Producer Price Index was down by 1.9%.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Dec 31, 2008

 
"Energy policy can create jobs, give an economic lift, and get us out of this ditch."
—Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue, quoted in BusinessWeek, November 26, 2008

"By having an employer-based [health care] system, employers can make offerings that allow them to attract the most talented people to their organizations."
—Anthony Wisniewski, Chamber executive director of health care policy, quoted in The Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2008

2.6 Million Jobs Lost in 2008

Dec 31, 2008

 
January 13, 2009—In December, the unemployment rate rose, as nonfarm payrolls declined substantially. A forward looking indicator of the housing market suggests that troubles in that sector will continue. Finally, factory orders were down in November.

Trade Deficit Widens

Nov 30, 2008

 
December 16, 2008—The U.S. trade deficit widened in October. Retail Sales fell in November with slow sales at gasoline stations and auto dealers. Declining energy prices pushed the Producer Price Index down last month. Pending home sales declined again in October.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Nov 30, 2008

 
"I think an Obama presidency will share the same interest and concerns as our members and the rest of the American public, and that's to get the engine of growth going, get innovation going again, and get job creation growing."
-Bruce Josten, executive vice president, U.S. Chamber, quoted on NPR's "Morning Edition," November 6, 2008

Worldwide Slowdown

Nov 30, 2008

Dr. Martin Regalia

As I mentioned last month, it is evident that the U.S. economy is in a recession. Moreover, the incoming data suggest that the downturn will be steeper and more prolonged than either of the last two, perhaps rivaling the double-dip decline of the early 1980s. One reason for such pessimism is the global nature of the current downturn. Most of our major trading partners were caught up in the recent credit problems and are experiencing slower growth.

Economic Conditions Worsen

Nov 30, 2008

 
December 9, 2008—News on the economic front continues to be dismal. In November, the unemployment rate rose, with the decline in nonfarm payrolls the largest since 1974. Weak manufacturing numbers confirmed the poor state of the economy; the ISM fell in November, and factory orders were down in October.

Speak Out!

Nov 30, 2008

 
Your voice counts! Please respond to the following four questions by going to www.uschamber.com/speakout and receive instant survey results. We'll also let you know how your colleagues responded by posting the results in this space in a future issue.

1. With credit being tight, have you or your business had more difficulty getting a loan?

 

2. What impact do you think the new Congress and administration will have on your business?

 

Fed Slashes Rates to Record Low

Nov 30, 2008

 
December 23, 2008—The FOMC lowered the federal funds rate to its lowest level ever. The Consumer Price Index fell in November, as energy prices continued to decline. Industrial production and new residential construction also declined in November. 

GDP Growth Remains Sluggish

Nov 30, 2008

 
December 2, 2008—In its latest estimate of third quarter economic activity, the Bureau of Economic Activity lowered its estimate of gross domestic product growth. Home sales are still sluggish. Existing home sales and new home sales both fell in October.

Retail Sales Continue to Slide

Oct 31, 2008

 
November 18, 2008—Retailers had a grim month in October as sales were down compared to September. As the nation enters a recession, industrial activity is generally weak, although industrial production increased slightly in October. Exports, which have recently been a significant driver of economic growth, declined in September, and imports fell as well. Last, the budget deficit narrowed in October.

New Fears of Deflation

Oct 31, 2008

 
November 25, 2008—With the recent decline in energy prices, the Consumer Price Index fell in October, setting off new fears that the economy is entering a deflationary period. The Producer Price Index also declined last month. New residential construction fell again in October due to continued trouble in the financial markets.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Oct 31, 2008

 
"I am pleased to be back at the U.S. Chamber. I want to thank the members of this fine organization for your efforts to support the spirit of free enterprise and to advance the interests of businesses, large and small, across our great country."

-President Bush, speaking to a U.S. Chamber audience, October 17, 2008

"Much of the shift [in votes] was likely driven by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which mobilized its members to call their representatives."

Unemployment Rate Continues to Climb

Oct 31, 2008

 
November 11, 2008—The latest economic indicators contain little good news. Unemployment is on the rise, shedding thousands of jobs last month. The ISM survey fell again in October, showing decreased industrial output. Last, the housing market remains troubled, with pending home sales declining in September.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Sep 30, 2008

 
"[Chamber President and CEO] Tom Donohue said that whether Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama or Republican candidate Sen. John McCain wins the White House, the victor will have to work closely with the Chamber."
The Hill, August 26, 2008

Results Are In!

Sep 30, 2008

 

In August we asked for your opinions in our poll. Here are your responses.

1. Have you seen a spike in your business since the IRS mailed stimulus checks to 130 million taxpayers?

Some 95% said that they did not see an increase in their businesses resulting from the tax rebate checks. But research shows that the typical family increased spending by 3.5% when their rebate arrived, boosting overall nondurable consumption by 2.4% in the second quarter.

2. How do you see the economy six months from now?

 

Home Sales Rise in September

Sep 30, 2008

 
October 28, 2008—The economic indicators released last week provided some good news in the face of a gloomy stock market and global economy. The Conference Board's leading indicators posted a slight increase in September, buoyed by a larger money supply. Existing and new home sales were up for the month.

Inflationary Fears Recede as Energy Prices Fall

Sep 30, 2008

 
October 14, 2008—The Federal Open Market Committee lowered the funds rate in an emergency move last week. However, some economic indicators were positive last week, despite the economic meltdown. In August, the trade deficit narrowed as oil imports dropped, and pending home sales grew.

159,000 Jobs Eliminated in September

Sep 30, 2008

 
October 7, 2008—The employment situation continued its deterioration in September as payrolls declined by the thousands. Consumer confidence was up slightly, on the heels of increased expectations for the future. Manufacturing was weak in September; the ISM fell below the threshold for expansion. Weak manufacturing news was also evident in the factory orders report, as all components decreased in August's report.

Cheaper Gas Prices Boost Sales at the Pump

Sep 30, 2008

 
October 21, 2008—Industrial production took a hit last month. Inflation appears to be in check, as the Consumer Price Index remained flat in September, while the Producer Price Index fell on the heels of cheaper energy. Last, new residential construction fell again last month.

Media Myths and Corporate Taxes

Sep 30, 2008

Dr. Martin Regalia

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in July published a report, Comparison of the Reported Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and U.S.-Controlled Corporations, 1998-2005, GAO-08-957, requested by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Carl Levin (D-MI). The GAO examined a sample of annual IRS data from the Statistics of Income Division (SOI) containing information on corporations that file income tax returns and the number that actually had a tax liability for the years 1998 through 2005.

Oil Imports Climb 13.7%

Aug 31, 2008

 
September 16, 2008—Growing oil imports caused a widening of the U.S. trade deficit in July. The Producer Price Index gave up some ground in August. Consumers reigned in on spending in August as retail sales fell. Finally, pending home sales fell in July, as the housing correction continues.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Aug 31, 2008

 
"If we fail to act now and implement new policies that will address our long-term transportation needs, we are going to severely harm the flow of goods, our mobility, our safety."
- Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue quoted in Shipping Digest, July 7, 2008

Help Shape the Chamber's Agenda

Aug 31, 2008

 
For the U.S. Chamber to effectively represent your business' interests, we need to hear from you. The biennial National Business Agenda survey is your opportunity to speak up and help shape the Chamber's policy priorities for the next Congress and administration.

This survey allows you to rate the importance of tax and economic policy, legal reform, regulatory and environmental policy, transportation infrastructure investment, and a host of other issues critical to our economy.

Vehicle Sales Rise as Oil Prices Fall

Aug 31, 2008

 
September 9, 2008—Vehicle sales unexpectedly rose in August as oil prices have finally started to decline. Manufacturing again displayed its resilience in July as new orders increased. The labor market deteriorated in August as the unemployment rate jumped and the economy shed tens-of-thousands of jobs. Business confidence remains near 50, suggesting weakness but not a deep recession, at least at this point.

Housing Market Shows Signs of Stabilization

Aug 31, 2008

 
September 2, 2008—The housing market may be showing the first signs of stabilization, as existing home sales and new home sales increased. Government rebate checks and higher exports led the Bureau of Economic Analysis to upwardly revise their estimate for second quarter GDP growth, as consumer confidence continued its resurgence.

Home Sales Down More Than 30%

Aug 31, 2008

 
September 30, 2008—New home sales plummeted in August, while existing home sales also took a dive last month. The latest GDP report for the second quarter took some of the shine off of earlier numbers as GDP growth was revised downward.

U.S. Economy Demanding Fewer Imports

Jul 31, 2008

 
August 19, 2008—The international trade balance narrowed in June as the weak U.S. economy is demanding fewer imports. Prices rose again in July, as the Consumer Price Index rose and elevated energy prices were passed along to consumers. With fewer government rebate checks to spur shopping, retail spending fell in July. Industrial production rose slightly in July as mining and manufacturing posted small gains.

Food and Energy Prices on the Rise

Jul 31, 2008

 
August 26, 2008—In July, the Producer Price Index rose as higher food and energy prices worked their way through all stages of production. The housing market continues to show signs of weakness; new residential construction fell in July. Last, the Conference Board's Leading Indicators index is at a 4-year low.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jul 31, 2008

 
"There's an energy tsunami coming, and when you see it coming you better get on top of the wave, or you're going to get crushed by it."
- Gen. James L. Jones,USMC (Ret.), president and CEO, U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy, quoted by the Associated Press, July 15, 2008

"The Chamber has been a tremendous organization over the years. I'm delighted to work with you and participate in your worthy enterprise."
-Vice President Dick Cheney speaking to the U.S. Chamber board of directors, June 11, 2008

Economy Grows 1.9% in 2Q

Jul 31, 2008

 
August 5, 2008—In the 2nd quarter, the GDP grew as strong consumer spending came on the heels of government rebate checks. Unemployment rose as employers again slashed their payrolls. Manufacturing remains sluggish as the ISM fell slightly. Expectations for the future rose, causing an improvement in overall consumer confidence.

FOMC Keep Funds Rate Steady

Jul 31, 2008

 
August 12, 2008—Though the FOMC noted concerns over rising inflation, it decided to keep the federal funds rate steady at its latest meeting. Manufacturing again displayed its resilience in June at new orders surged. As fewer government rebates were mailed in June, personal income rose in June, after posting an increase of in May. Last, pending home sales grew in June, following an increase in May.

Results Are In!

Jun 30, 2008

 
In May, we asked for your opinions in our Quick Poll. Below are your responses.

1. What is your business' greatest immediate concern?

By a large margin, high gasoline prices top the list of immediate concerns. According to Bill Kovacs, Chamber vice president for Technology, Environment and Regulatory Affairs, "Congress needs to allow more domestic oil production."

View the Latest Housing Numbers

Jun 30, 2008

 
July 29, 2008—The housing market remains troubled, as both new and existing home sales continue on a downward slide. Orders for durable goods posted an increase in June as firms continue to invest in core capital goods.

Inflation Concerns Hold Funds Rate Steady

Jun 30, 2008

 
July 1, 2008—Increased insecurity over inflation kept the FOMC from reducing rates at its latest meeting and kept the federal funds rate steady. The BEA upwardly revised its GDP number for the first quarter as exports and consumer spending and business investment were stronger than originally reported. Consumer confidence continued to slide for June. Housing numbers remained mixed as existing home sales rose and new home sales fell in May.

Weak Dollar Fuels Exports

Jun 30, 2008

 
July 15,2008—The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in May as the weak dollar fueled exports and the weak domestic economy limited imports. Problems remain in the housing market, as evidenced by a decrease in pending home sales in May. Consumers remained glum as the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey remained low in July.

Inflation Surges in June

Jun 30, 2008

 
July 22,2008—The Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index both increased significantly last month, and may cause the Fed to take anti-inflationary measures. Industrial production and retail sales picked up in June. In a rare spot of good news for the beleaguered housing market, new residential construction posted a gain.

Heard In and About The U.S. Chamber

Jun 30, 2008

 
"[Pennsylvania Gov. Ed] Rendell (D) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are trying to make rebuilding infrastructure—including roads, bridges, airports, railroads, and ports—a national priority."
-Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 18, 2008

"... the jobs, the innovation, the future of this country are tied into the [nation's] 26 million small businesses, and we should never forget that."
-Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue on "Fox Business Live," April 29, 2008

Vehicle Sales Continue Downward Trend

Jun 30, 2008

 
July 8, 2008—Vehicle sales were down in June, continuing a downward trend. Labor markets remain soft and the unemployment rate was unchanged last month. Nonfarm payrolls declined for the sixth consecutive month and the employment outlook is generally weak. On the upside, the ISM surprised many by crossing above an important threshold and factory orders also showed modest growth. Nonetheless, high energy prices continue to weigh on the economy and on consumer sentiment.

Stimulus Checks Spur Spending, Retail Sales

May 31, 2008

 
June 17, 2008—The stimulus payments spurred consumers to increase their spending in May, as retail sales rose. Also in May, the Consumer Price Index recorded an increase on the heels of a spike in energy prices. Finally, bargain shoppers appeared to boost the housing market as many foreclosed homes were bought in May, causing an unexpected rise in pending home sales.

New Residential Construction Down 32.1%

May 31, 2008

 
June 24, 2008—The housing market remains weak as evidenced by a fall in new residential construction. Higher energy and food prices caused the Producer Price Index to increase, while a drop in utility output hampered industrial production. Last, the Conference Board's Leading Indicators rose, with higher stock prices and a higher yield spread making the largest positive contributions to the index.

Job Hunters Face a Bleak Outlook

May 31, 2008

 
Job hunters face a bleak outlook, as employers cut their payrolls and the unemployment rated jumped to 5.5% in May. The ISM rose, but remains below the threshold for expansion for the fourth straight month. Factory orders also increased on strong orders for nondurable goods.

Consumer Confidence Hits 16-Year Low

May 31, 2008

 
June 3, 2008—First quarter GDP grew at a better rate than initially reported. The sale of new homes increased in April. However, economic uneasiness continued to weigh on the minds of consumers, driving consumer confidence to a 16-year low. Finally, personal income inched upward in April as inflation restricted larger gains in income growth.

Fitting Into the Global Economy

May 31, 2008

Dr. Martin Regalia

With the dollar's decline and the increasing role that export growth has played thus far in offsetting much of the decline in housing markets, now may be a good time to take another look at the position of the United States in the global economy and the implications of  that position for America's citizens, businesses, and policymakers.

Recession?

Apr 30, 2008

Dr. Martin Regalia

It's been awhile since we have examined the current state of the economy, so we thought that it would be a good time to update the outlook.

Housing Market Remains Weak

Apr 30, 2008

 
May 13, 2008—The housing market remains weak and despite many good deals, pending home sales data indicate that existing home sales will not recover in the next few months. The ISM nonmanufacturing index increased, indicating that the service sector is growing, while productivity growth continued in the 1st quarter.

Inflation Stable, Consumer Spending Low

Apr 30, 2008

 
May 20, 2008—Inflation remained in check as consumers spending remained low in April and retail sales fell. Sharp declines in manufacturing and mining hindered industrial production, while, to the surprise of analysts, new residential construction spiked last month.

Will Further Rate Cuts Spur Economic Growth?

Apr 30, 2008

 
May 6, 2008—As expected, the FOMC cut rates to 2% in an attempt to spur economic growth. The BEA released the first estimate for GDP on Wednesday, indicating higher-than-expected economic growth. While employers shed thousands of jobs in April, consumer confidence continued to decline. Last, as the ISM index remained unchanged in April, factory orders fell.

Housing Market Continues to Stumble

Apr 30, 2008

 
May 27, 2008—The housing market continued to stumble, with existing homes sales falling in April. The prices paid by producers continued to increase in April, as the Producer's Price Index also rose. The Conference Board's Leading Indicators provided some good news, as it rose for the second straight month.

Unemployment Jumps to 5.1%

Mar 31, 2008

 
April 8, 2008—The labor market continued to struggle in March, as employers shed 80,000 jobs. Adding to the sour mood, the BEA downwardly revised its figures for January and February, with each month reporting a loss of 76,000 jobs. Though the ISM remains below 50, it inched upward 0.3 to 48.6 in February. Factory orders, however, fell 1.3% in February.

Trouble Continues in the Housing Market

Mar 31, 2008

 
April 1, 2008—GDP growth remained sluggish, as the BEA announced that economy grew at a 0.6% annualized rate in the 4th quarter. Growth in personal income increased, inching up 0.5% in February. Trouble continues in the housing market, as the sale of new homes decreased 1.8% for the month.

Results Are In!

Mar 31, 2008

 
In February, we asked for your opinions in our Quick Poll. Here are your responses. Look for future surveys to tell us what you think.

1. How would you describe the current economic environment for your business?

Despite a sluggish economy, 53% of the respondents view the current economic environment somewhere between good and excellent. Still, that figure is down considerably from the same point last year (75%).

2. What are your hiring plans in the next six months?

Consumer Spending on the Rise

Mar 31, 2008

 
April 15, 2008—Sales at retailers inched up 0.2% in March as consumers spent money at sporting goods stores and gasoline stations, though the latter is due to ongoing increases in energy prices, not increased demand for gasoline. The trade deficit widened an unexpected 5.7% in February to $62.3 billion. Trouble persists in the housing market, as the index for pending home sales fell 1.9% to 84.6% due to buyers' reluctance to invest in real estate.

Durable Goods, New and Existing Home Sales

Mar 31, 2008

 
April 29, 2008—Durable goods orders inched down 0.3% in March, as businesses purchased core capital goods. The housing market remains bleak, as new home sales decreased 8.5% in March and existing homes sales fell 2.0%.

Tax Facts You Should Know

Mar 31, 2008

Dr. Martin Regalia

With the second session of the 110th Congress in full swing and an economic stimulus bill recently passed, it seems that tax day has crept up on us once again. Whether you are waiting anxiously for your refund check or bemoaning the fact that you are writing a check, it's a good time to look at some tax facts and see who really pays what taxes.

New Home Prices Plunge 15%

Feb 29, 2008

 
March 4, 2008—GDP growth slowed to a crawl in the 4th quarter, as did personal income growth in January. Producer prices for finished goods increased in January while orders for durable goods fell, and trouble continues in the housing market.

Consumer Demand Sluggish in February

Feb 29, 2008

 
March 18, 2008—Sluggish consumer demand and a slowing of the rise in energy prices caused the Consumer Price Index to remain steady in February. Consumers pulled back on spending during February, as retail sales fell 0.6%. Finally, the trade balance grew in January to $58.2 billion.

Fed Cuts Funds Rate Once Again

Feb 29, 2008

 
March 25, 2008—The Federal Open Market Committee cut the federal funds rate 75 basis points, as problems continue to plague many areas of the economy. Industrial production and utility output fell in February, while a reduction in food prices moderated other inflationary pressures throughout the pipeline as the Producer Price Index rose. Last, the housing market continues to struggle, as new residential construction slowed last month.

Labor Market Cuts 63,000 Jobs

Feb 29, 2008

 
March 11, 2008—In February, employers cut 63,000 jobs, fueling fears of a recession. The ISM retreated in February, thus, manufacturing activity is contracting. Factory orders fell as firms pulled back on capital expenditures, while productivity growth continued in the 4th quarter. Some relief may be at hand in the housing market, as the index for pending home sales remained steady from December to January.

Retail Sales, Inventories, Production, Trade

Jan 31, 2008

 
February 19, 2008—Strong spending at gas stations unexpectedly drove a rise of 0.3% in overall retail sales in January. Business inventories also improved, posting an increase of 0.6% for the month. A surge in utility output led to industrial production to inch up 0.1% in January. Finally, the trade balance narrowed by $4.36 billion in December as the weak dollar continued to propel US exports while making imports more expensive to the American consumer.

Crunch Time?

Jan 31, 2008

Dr. Martin Regalia

A couple of months back in this column I presented my forecast for the economy over the next year or so. While the economy over much of last year had been quite resilient in the face of a number of shocks, most notably housing and oil, the outlook had become quite dicey. I nevertheless believed that the economy would avoid an outright recession. With much of the fourth quarter data available as I write this, I thought it may be a good time to see how we are doing.

Your Voice Counts

Jan 31, 2008

Speak Out!

How is the economy affecting your business? Do you plan to hire in the next six months? Are you planning to modernize or increase your business investment? Have you decided how you'll vote in the 2008 presidential election? We want to know. Respond to the following four questions by going to www.uschamber.com/speakout and receive instant survey results. We'll also let you know how your colleagues responded by posting the results in this space in a future issue.

Market Volatility Fuels Latest Rate Cut

Jan 31, 2008

 
February 5, 2008—The Federal Open Market Committee cut the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 3.0% at its regularly scheduled meeting. Gross Domestic Product growth was weak, inching up 0.6% in the 4th quarter, according to early estimates from the BEA. January's employment report indicated the labor market struggled, as employers slashed 17,000 jobs. While the ISM inched into its expansionary territory with a reading of 50.7, manufacturing activity remains sluggish as a convergence of factors hinder stronger output.

High Energy Prices Plague Consumers

Jan 31, 2008

 
February 26, 2008—High energy prices continued to plague consumers as the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% in January. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators posted a small increase in January, lead by an increased monetary supply and gains in consumer confidence. A sluggish housing market continued in January, as existing home sales fell 0.4%, according to the National Association of Realtors. New housing starts increased 0.8% in January, but permits were off 3.0% for the month.

Factory Orders, ISM Index, Productivity and Costs

Jan 31, 2008

 
February 12, 2008—In December, factory orders rose 2.3%, led by a surge in durable goods orders. The outlook for growth in the service sector appears weak, as the ISM Nonmanufacturing Index fell to 44.6%. Finally, nonfarm business productivity posted a better-than-expected gain of 1.8% (SAAR) in the 4th quarter.

Energy and Producer Prices Decrease

Dec 31, 2007

 
Producer prices fell 0.1% in December, as energy prices gave up some of their November gains.  Retail sales decreased, too, at a rate of 0.4%. After posting increases in September and October, pending home sales plunged 2.6% in November as problems continue in the housing sector.

Results Are In!

Dec 31, 2007

 
In November, we asked for your opinions in our Speak Out! survey. Below are your responses.

1. What is the biggest burden to your business?
 
Given a choice of five responses, about 31% of the respondents said that taxes are the biggest burden to their businesses. About one-quarter cited health care costs.

Continuing the Downward Spiral

Dec 31, 2007

 
The FOMC lowered the federal funds rate 75 base points to 3.5% as uncertainty over future economic growth continued. Overall prices for consumer goods increased 0.3% in December while the core CPI rose 0.2%. Industrial production continued at an unchanged rate for the month of December. New residential construction and the sale of existing homes remained sluggish, dropping 14.2% and 2.2%, respectively.

Employment Situation, Construction Spending, ISM Index

Dec 31, 2007

 
The labor market created 18,000 net new jobs in December as the unemployment rate inched upward to 5.0%.  Construction spending inched up 0.1%, driven by a 2.5% increase in public construction spending. The ISM Index fell to 47.7 in December, representing a loss of 3.1 points over the previous month and is no longer in expansionary territory. Last, factory orders grew a larger-than-expected 1.5% in November.

Ticking Tax Time Bombs

Dec 31, 2007

Dr. Martin Regalia

While worries over the impact of the subprime debacle, a credit crunch, increasing oil prices, and the possibility of a recession grab the headlines, two ticking time bombs in the tax code go largely undiscussed: namely, the impending expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the creeping encroachment of the AMT (alternative minimum tax). 

Strike Three--Fed Reduces Funds Rate Again

Nov 30, 2007

 
December 18, 2007—The FOMC lowered the federal funds rate 25 base points to 4.25% as uncertainty over future economic growth continued. Overall prices for consumer goods surged 0.8% in November while the core CPI increased 0.3%. Concurrently, producer prices grew 3.2% as the core PPI posted a 0.4% increase. Retail sales and industrial production both increased, posting gains of 1.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

Personal Income, Consumption on the Rise

Nov 30, 2007

 
December 4, 2007—Both personal income and consumption rose 0.2% in October. The GDP grew 4.9% in the 3rd quarter and has increased 2.8% on a year-ago basis. New home sales increased 1.7% while sales of existing homes fell 1.2%. Both new and existing home sales are down significantly compared to last year. Last, durable goods orders declined an unexpected 0.4% in October.

By the Skin of Our Teeth

Nov 30, 2007

Dr. Martin Regalia

It has been a tumultuous few months since we last examined the state of the economy. So for this month's column, I'll leave the current developments in AMT reform and tax policy aside and focus on our economic outlook.

94,000 New Jobs Created in November

Nov 30, 2007

 
December 11, 2007—The labor market created 94,000 net new jobs in November while the unemployment rate remained at 4.7%. Nonfarm business productivity increased 6.3% in the 3rd quarter, a welcome improvement on the 2.2% rise during the 2nd quarter. The ISM Index inched down in November to 50.8 but remains in expansionary territory. Last, factory orders grew a larger-than-expected 0.5% in October.

Housing Starts Increase 3.0%

Oct 31, 2007

 
November 27, 2007—Housing starts rose 3.0% in October but are down 16.4% compared to last year. Concurrently, the Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators fell 0.5%.

Prices of Consumer Goods on the Rise

Oct 31, 2007

 
November 20, 2007—Overall prices for consumer goods rose 0.3% in October while the core CPI increased 0.2%. Concurrently, producer prices grew 0.1% as the core PPI went unchanged. Retail sales were weak in October, increasing a modest 0.2% while industrial production decreased 0.5%. Last, business inventories rose 0.4% in September.

Fed Reduces Funds Rate Again

Oct 31, 2007

 
November 6, 2007—At its latest meeting, the FOMC cut the funds rate 25 basis points to 4.50%, its second consecutive rate reduction. The GDP grew 3.9% in the 3rd quarter and has increased 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. Personal income rose 0.4% in September while consumption grew 0.3%. During the same period, growth in compensation costs decelerated to 0.8%, which is good news for inflation. Last, the ISM index decreased in October to 50.9, but remained in expansionary territory.

166,000 New Jobs Created in October

Oct 31, 2007

 
November 13, 2007—The labor market created 166,000 net new jobs in October as the unemployment rate remained at 4.7%. Nonfarm business productivity rose 4.9% (SAAR) in the 3rd quarter, up from a 2.2% increase in the 2nd quarter. In September, the trade deficit narrowed 0.6% to $56.5 billion. Concurrently, factory orders rose 0.2% while consumer credit increased $3.7 billion to $2.482 trillion.

Personal Income Continues to Rise

Sep 30, 2007

 
October 2, 2007—The ‘final' estimate by the BEA indicates that the GDP grew 3.8% in the 2nd quarter. Personal income rose 0.3% in August while consumption grew 0.6%. The housing market is still in bad shape, as new home sales and existing home sales decreased 8.3% and 4.3%, respectively. Last, new orders for durable goods fell 4.9% in August.
 
Gross Domestic Product

Increase in Exports Narrows Trade Deficit

Sep 30, 2007

 
October 16, 2007—The trade deficit narrowed in August, falling 2.4% to $57.6 billion. Producer prices for finished good rose 1.1% in September while core prices increased 0.1%. Concurrently, total retail sales rose 0.6%. In August, wholesale inventories inched up 0.1% as sales increased 0.4%. Last, total business inventories increased 0.1% in August.

New Home Sales, Prices Increase

Sep 30, 2007

 
October 30, 2007—New home sales rose 4.8% in September to 770,000 units but are down 23.3% compared to last year. Existing home sales, however, fell 8.0% during the same period and are down 19.1 on a year-over-year basis. Overall, the housing market remains weak. Last, new orders for durable goods fell a larger-than-expected 1.7% while orders for capital goods increased 0.4%.

Consumer Credit Soars to $2.47 Trillion

Sep 30, 2007

 
October 9, 2007—The labor market created 110,000 net new jobs in September, but the unemployment rate inched up to 4.7%. Concurrently, the ISM index fell to 52.0 but remains in expansionary territory. In August, factory orders decreased a larger-than-expected 3.3% while consumer credit rose $12.2 billion to $2.47 trillion.

Housing Market Struggles Despite Funds Rate Decrease

Sep 30, 2007

 
October 23, 2007—The housing market continues to struggle as housing starts plunged 10.2% in September. Overall prices for consumer goods increased 0.3% in September, while the core CPI rose 0.2%. Industrial production increased 0.1% for the month, while the Index of Leading Indicators grew 0.3%.
 
Consumer Price Index

"Fixing" The AMT And Who Will Pay

Sep 30, 2007

In July, we took a look at the latest 800-pound tax gorilla–the alternative minimum tax (AMT)–and how it is threatening to gain more weight by bingeing on middle-class taxpayers and consuming even more of their hard-earned money. Well Congress thinks it has the answer ' or a number of answers, depending on who you listen to. Hmmm ' let's take a look at some of these possible "solutions."

Economy Sheds 4,000 Jobs in August

Aug 31, 2007

 
September 11, 2007—The labor markets shed 4,000 jobs in August as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.6%. Concurrently, the ISM index decreased but remained in expansionary territory. In the 2nd quarter, nonfarm business productivity increased 2.6% while unit labor costs inched up 1.4%. Last, wholesale inventories increased 0.2% in July as sales grew 0.1%.
 
Employment Situation

GDP Growth Strong in Q2

Aug 31, 2007

 
September 4, 2007—The GDP grew at a 4.0% rate in the 2nd quarter, a welcome improvement from the weak 0.6% growth in the 1st quarter. Existing home sales fell 0.2% in July and are down 9.0% compared to a year ago. Concurrently, personal income rose 0.5% and the PCE deflator inched up only 0.1%.Lastly, factory orders increased a larger-than-expected 3.7%.

Fed Reduces Funds Rate

Aug 31, 2007

 
September 25, 2007—For the first time in four years the FOMC cut the funds rate, reducing it to 4.75%. On the inflation front, the consumer price index fell 0.1% in August while the producer price index posted a 1.4% decline. Concurrently, the housing market remains weak, as housing starts fell 2.6% to 1.331 million units. Last, the index of leading economic indicators fell 0.6%.

Consumer Demand for Revolving Credit Continues to Rise

Aug 31, 2007

 
September 18, 2007—The trade deficit narrowed in July, falling $0.2 billion to $59.2 billion. Concurrently, consumer credit rose 3.7% (annualized rate) to $2.456 trillion. In August, retail sales increased 0.3% while industrial production grew 0.2%. Last, business inventories rose 0.5% in August while sales jumped 1.1%.

Mixed Bag on Housing Figures

Jul 31, 2007

 
August 28, 2007—Housing starts fell 6.1% to 1.38 million units in July and are down 20.9% year-over-year. Concurrently, new home sales increased 2.8% to 870,000 units. Industrial production increased 0.3% in July while the Index of Leading Indicators rose 0.4%. Last, new orders for durable goods jumped a much larger-than-expected 5.9%.

Is There a Perfect Storm on the Horizon?

Jul 31, 2007

Dr. Martin Regalia

Last month I promised to write another column about the alternative minimum tax (AMT). I've decided to save that topic for a later date in order to give the various AMT reform proposals percolating in Congress time to come into clearer focus.

Productivity, Credit, Trade Up; Funds Rate Steady

Jul 31, 2007

 
August 14, 2007—Nonfarm business productivity increased 1.8% in the 2nd quarter as unit labor costs grew 2.1%. For the ninth straight meeting, the FOMC held the funds rate steady at 5.25%. Consumer credit rose 6.5% to $2.459 trillion in June as both revolving and nonrevolving credit increased. Lastly, wholesale inventories increased 0.5% while sales jumped 0.6%.

Employment, Income, Factory Orders Up; ISM Down

Jul 31, 2007

 
August 7, 2007—The labor market created 102,000 net new jobs in July as the unemployment rate increased to 4.6%. Concurrently, the ISM index remained in expansionary territory but fell to 53.8. Personal income rose 0.4% in June while consumption grew 0.1%. Factory orders increased a smaller-than-expected 0.4%. Lastly, the employment cost index increased 0.9% in the 2nd quarter.

CPI, PPI, Retail Sales, and Inventories Rise

Jul 31, 2007

 
August 21, 2007—The consumer price index inched up only 0.1% in July as energy prices fell. Concurrently, the producer price index jumped 0.6%. Retail sales rose 0.3% in July while core sales were up 0.6%. Total business inventories grew 0.4%. Lastly, the trade deficit narrowed $1.02 billion to $58.1 billion.
 
Consumer Price Index

Your Voice Counts

Jun 30, 2007

Results Are In!

In May, we asked for your opinions in our Speak Out survey. Below are your responses. Look for future surveys and tell us what you think.

1. How would you describe the current economic environment for your business?
Respondents' views of the economy in May were slightly depressed compared with February. Nevertheless, nearly 70% consider the economic environment somewhere between good and excellent, while less than 10% rated the economy very poor.

Employment, ISM Index Up; Factory Orders Down

Jun 30, 2007

 
July 10, 2007—The labor market created 132,000 net new jobs in June as the unemployment rate remained at 4.5%. The manufacturing industry continued to gain momentum, as the ISM index increased 1.0 point to 56.0. Lastly, factory orders fell 0.5% in May, reversing the 0.5% increase in April.

Inventories, Trade Deficit, Consumer Credit Up; Retail Down

Jun 30, 2007

 
July 17, 2007—Total retail sales fell 0.9% in June while core sales declined 0.3%. Concurrently, business inventories increased 0.5% and business sales surged 1.3%. The trade deficit widened in May, rising $1.4 billion to $60.0 billion. Consumer credit increased $12.9 billion to $2.440 trillion in May, and, lastly, wholesale inventories jumped 0.5% while wholesale sales rose 1.3%.

CPI, Industrials, Housing Up; PPI, Indicators Down

Jun 30, 2007

 
July 24, 2007—Producer prices for finished goods fell 0.2% in June as food and energy prices dropped. Concurrently, the consumer price index rose 0.2%. Industrial production increased 0.5% as manufacturing, mining, and utilities output grew. Furthermore, housing starts rose 2.3% in June but are still down 19.4% compared to a year ago. Lastly, the index of leading indicators fell 0.3%.

GDP, Durable Goods Up; Home Sales Down

Jun 30, 2007

 
July 31, 2007—The GDP recovered from a weak 1st quarter by increasing a larger-than-expected 3.4% in the 2nd quarter. The housing market continues to struggle. Sales of both existing and new homes decreased in June, falling 3.8% and 6.6%, respectively. Lastly, durable goods increased 1.4% in June.
 
Gross Domestic Product

Leading Indicators Up; Overall Housing Market Down

May 31, 2007

 
June 26, 2007—The housing market continues to struggle. Housing starts fell 2.1% to 1.474 million units in May and are down 24.2% on a year-ago basis. Concurrently, existing home sales dropped 0.3% to 5.99 million units. Lastly, the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators increased 0.3% in May, reversing its 0.3% decline in April.

Orders, Productivity, Inventories Up; Trade Deficit Down

May 31, 2007

 
June 12, 2007—The trade deficit narrowed in April, decreasing $3.9 billion to $58.5 billion. Concurrently, growth in factory orders slowed to 0.3%. Nonfarm business productivity increased 1.0% in the 1st quarter while unit labor costs grew 1.8%. Lastly, wholesale inventories increased 0.3% in April while sales jumped 1.3%.

International Trade

Retail, CPI, PPI, Inventories Up; Industrials Down

May 31, 2007

 
June 19, 2007—Total retail sales increased a stronger-than-expected 1.4% in May. The CPI rose 0.7% while the core CPI inched up 0.1%. Concurrently, the PPI jumped 0.9%, but the core PPI increased a moderate 0.2%. Lastly, industrial production was unchanged in May while business inventories increased 0.4%.

GDP, Corporate Profits, Labor, ISM Up; Income Down

May 31, 2007

 
June 5, 2007—The GDP grew an anemic 0.65% in the 1st quarter as the weak housing market and weak trade hindered growth. Corporate profits increased $20.3 billion to $1.669 trillion. The labor market created 157,000 net new jobs in May while the unemployment rate held steady at 4.5%. The ISM index remained strong in May by increasing 0.3 points to 55.0. Lastly, personal income fell 0.1% in April while consumption rose 0.5%.

Inflation: Simple Idea, Complex Measurement

May 31, 2007

Dr. Martin Regalia

Inflation, the general increase in prices, is a well-known concept. We read about it in the press, we feel its impact in our pocketbooks, and the Fed watches it intensely in determining monetary policy. But it can also be confusing.

Employment & Income, New Orders, Productivity & Costs

Apr 30, 2007

 
May 8, 2007—The labor market created 88,000 net new jobs in April as the unemployment rate inched up to 4.5%. Also, the ISM Index surged a surprising 3.8 points to 54.7 for the month. Personal income grew 0.7% in March, while the top-line PCE deflator rose 0.4%. Concurrently, factory orders increased 3.1%. Lastly, nonfarm business productivity rose a better-than-expected 1.7% during the 1st quarter.

Today's Economy: Bucking Head winds but Still Growing

Apr 30, 2007

 
As we sputter through the first half of 2007, the economy continues to overcome obstacles in its path, but the lack of momentum has clearly raised anxiety levels among commentators, the media, and some economists. I still believe that the economy will gradually accelerate through the year and approach its long-run potential growth rate by year-end, but it is likely to be a nail-biter.

CPI, Housing, Industrial Up; CB Indicators, Inventories Down

Apr 30, 2007

 
May 22, 2007—The consumer price index rose 0.4% in April while the core CPI inched up 0.2%. Housing starts rose 2.5% for the month but are still down 16.1% on a year-over-year basis. Also, industrial production rose a larger-than-expected 0.7% in April. Concurrently, the index of leading indicators fell 0.5%. Lastly, in March, total business inventories fell 0.1%.
 
Consumer Price Index

GDP, Compensation Costs, Home Sales, Durable Goods

Apr 30, 2007

 
May 1, 2007—The GDP grew an anemic 1.3% in the 1st quarter as the weak housing market and trade hindered growth. Concurrently, compensation costs increased 0.8%. Sales of existing homes plunged 8.4% in March, but new home sales actually increased, rising 2.6%. Lastly, new orders for durable goods grew a stronger-than-expected 3.4% in March.
 
Gross Domestic Product

Your Voice Counts Results

Mar 31, 2007

Results Are In!

In February, we asked for your opinions in our Speak Out! survey. Below are your responses. Look for future surveys and tell us what you think.

1. How would you describe the current economic environment for your business?

Employment, ISM Index, Factory Orders, Wholesale Trade

Mar 31, 2007

 
April 10, 2007—The labor market created 180,000 net new jobs in March while the unemployment rate fell to 4.4%. The ISM index fell to 50.9 in March but remains in expansionary territory. Factory orders increased 1.0% in February, rebounding from a 5.7% drop in January. Lastly, wholesale inventories increased 0.5% in February while sales grew 1.2%.

International Trade, PPI, Retail Sales, Business Inventories

Mar 31, 2007

 
April 17, 2007—The trade deficit narrowed by $0.4 billion to $58.4 billion in February, a 0.7% decline. Producer prices jumped 1.0% in March—driven by higher food and energy prices—while retail sales increased 0.7%. Lastly, business inventories rose 0.3% in February.

GDP, Income, Home Sales, Durable Goods, CB Index

Mar 31, 2007

 
April 3, 2007—The GDP grew 2.5% in 4th quarter, a slight improvement for the 2.0% growth during the 3rd quarter. Personal income grew 0.6% in February while new home sales fell 3.9%. New orders for durable goods grew a weaker-than-expected 2.5% in February and lastly, the index of consumer confidence dropped 4.0 points in March, it's lowest reading since November 2006. 

CPI, Residential Construction, Production, Leading Indicators

Mar 31, 2007

 
April 24, 2007—The top-line CPI rose a less-than-expected 0.6% in March, while the core CPI inched up just 0.1%. Concurrently, housing starts increased 0.8% to 1.518 million units but on a year-ago basis, starts are down 23.0%. Also, industrial production fell 0.2% in March, driven by weak utilities output and lastly, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.1%.

GDP, Home Sales, Personal Income, ISM Index

Feb 28, 2007

 
March 6, 2007—The GDP grew 2.2% in the 4th quarter and 3.3% for all of 2006. Sales of existing homes jumped 3.0% in January but new home sales plummeted 16.6%. Personal income gained a surprising 1.0% in January while consumption increased 0.5%. Lastly, the ISM index returned to expansionary territory in February, jumping to 52.3.

Employment, International Trade, Productivity and Costs, Factory Orders

Feb 28, 2007

 
March 13, 2007—The labor market created 97,000 net new jobs in February while the unemployment rate fell to 4.5%.  The trade deficit narrowed in January, decreasing 3.8% to $59.1 billion.  The deficit with China, however, jumped 12.0%.  Also non-farm business productivity rose 1.6% in the 4th quarter, rebounding from a 0.5% decline during the 3rd.  Lastly, factory orders plunged a larger-than-expected 5.6% in January.

Construction, FOMC, Home Sales, Leading Indicators

Feb 28, 2007

 
March 27, 2007—Housing starts rebounded slightly in February, increasing 9.0% to 1.525 million units after plunging 14.3% in January. Also, for the sixth straight meeting, FOMC kept the funds rate at 5.25%. Concurrently, existing home sales jumped 3.9% in February to 6.69 million units. Lastly, the Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators fell 0.5%.
 
New Residential Construction

CPI, PPI, Industrial Production, Retail Sales, Inventories

Feb 28, 2007

 
March 20, 2007—The top-line consumer price index rose 0.4% in February while the core CPI increased a more moderate 0.2%. Also, the producer price index surged 1.3% while the core PPI rose 0.4%. Both top-line indices were driven by higher energy prices. Concurrently, industrial production soared a larger-than-expected 1.0% while retail sales inched up 0.1%. Lastly, business inventories increased 0.2%.

Use Your Voice: Speak Out!

Jan 31, 2007

 
So that the U.S. Chamber may continue representing small business effectively, we hope that you will voice your opinion regarding the challenges you currently face as part of the small-business community. Visit the Speak Out! section of our Web site and answer a few questions about your hiring plans, how fuel prices affect your company, and the challenges of attracting and retaining qualified, valuable employees.

Make your voice heard.

PPI, Retail Sales, Production, Residential Construction, International Trade

Jan 31, 2007

 
February 20, 2007—The trade deficit increased $3.1 billion to $61.2 billion in a December, a 5.3% jump. Retail sales remained unchanged in January while industrial production decreased a larger-than-expected 0.5%. Concurrently, the PPI for finished goods fell 0.6% in January, and the core PPI inched up 0.2%. Lastly, housing starts plummeted 14.3% to 1.408 million units.
 
International Trade

GDP, Employment, FOMC, Income, ISM Index

Jan 31, 2007

 
February 6, 2007—The GDP grew 3.5% in the 4th quarter and 3.4% for all of 2006. The labor market produced 111,000 net new jobs in January while the unemployment rate inched up to 4.6%. Also, for the fifth straight meeting, the FOMC kept the funds rate at 5.25%. Personal income and consumption increased in December 0.5% and 0.7%, respectively. Lastly, the ISM index fell to 49.3 in January, down from 51.4 in December.

Employment Cost Index, Productivity & Costs, Consumer Credit, Wholesale Trade

Jan 31, 2007

 
February 13, 2007—Total compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.8% in the 4th quarter, while non-farm business productivity jumped 3.0% during the same period. Consumer credit rose by $6.0 billion to $2.40 trillion in December, a 3.0% increase. Concurrently, wholesale inventories fell an unexpected 0.5%.
 
Employment Cost Index

CPI, Leading Indicators, Business Inventories

Jan 31, 2007

 
February 27, 2007—The top-line consumer price index rose 0.2% in January while the core CPI increased 0.3%, slightly above expectations. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators grew 0.1%, a deceleration from the 0.6% rise in December. Lastly, business inventories remained unchanged in December while the inventory-to-sales ratio fell from 1.30 to 1.28.

Trade Deficit & Inventories, Retail Sales, Consumer Credit

Dec 31, 2006

 
January 16, 2007—The trade deficit narrowed in November, decreasing $0.6 billion to $58.2 billion. Retail sales posted a stronger-than-expected 0.9% gain in December. Consumer credit rose 6.2% to $2.39 trillion in November while wholesale inventories jumped 1.3%. Lastly, business inventories rose 0.4% in November.
 
International Trade

Speak Out!

Dec 31, 2006

Results Are In!

In November, we asked for your opinions in our Speak Out! survey. Below are your responses. Look for future uschamber.com surveys, and remember that they give you an opportunity to tell us what you think.

1. How would you describe the current economic environment for your business?

Employment, Construction Spending, ISM Index, Factory Orders

Dec 31, 2006

 
January 9, 2007—The labor market produced 167,000 net new jobs in December. The unemployment rate remained at 4.5% while workers' average hourly earnings increased 0.5%. Furthermore, total construction spending fell 0.2% in November, driven by a decrease in private construction spending. The ISM index increased to 51.4 in December and lastly, factory orders rose 0.9% in November, a slight rebound from the 4.5% plunge the previous month.

Leading Economic Indicators, Home Sales, Durable Goods

Dec 31, 2006

 
January 30, 2007—The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators increased 0.3% in December following an unchanged reading in November. Existing home sales decreased 0.8% in December while new home sales surged 4.8%. Both existing and new home sales are down on a year-ago basis. Lastly, new orders for durable goods jumped a stronger-than-expected 3.1% in December.

CPI, PPI, Industrial Production, Residential Construction

Dec 31, 2006

 
January 23, 2007—The top-line CPI rose 0.5% in December while the core CPI, which excludes food and energy, inched up 0.2%. The PPI rose a higher-than-expected 0.9% in December, driven by higher energy prices. Concurrently, the core PPI increased just 0.2%. Industrial production was stronger-than-expected in December, rising 0.4%. Lastly, housing starts increased 4.5% to 1.642 million units.
 
Consumer Price Index

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