Week in Review: Jan. 9-13
It’s Friday the 13th, but this week’s economic data was anything but spooky. The big one was the inflation (deflation) data on Thursday. Let’s do this party people.
Gas prices inched up again during the week ending January 9th but are still down about $1.75/gallon since June’s cyclical peak.
FTC Proposes Ban on Noncompete Clauses
The FTC has proposed a rule that would ban noncompete clauses. They estimate this could boost workers’ earnings by $300b/year. According to this report from the Treasury, just short of one in five workers is operating under a noncompete clause. Banning noncompetes strikes me as eminently fair in most cases, though I can understand why they are appropriate under certain circumstances (e.g., development of proprietary technology).
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
Small business owners remain really pessimistic. This particular measure has been below its 49-year average for each of the past 12 months. Approximately one-third of owners indicate that inflation is the biggest problem facing their business. While the inflation data are improving (yo, see Thursday), small businesses continue to face intense wage pressure (yo, see immediately below) along with rising healthcare costs.
Indeed Wage Data
According to the hiring site Indeed, U.S. wages increased 6.3% over the year ending December 2022. That’s largely in line with inflation, meaning real (i.e. inflation adjusted) wages were roughly flat over that span. As Millennial Zack is quick to point out, the data also indicate that wage growth is slowing, which is neatly aligned with data featured in last week’s jobs report.
Mortgage applications bounced back during the week ending January 6, but it was a small bounce, and that bounce was entirely due to an increase in refinance activity as mortgage rates fell slightly.
Consumer Price Index (Inflation)
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