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US Consumer Prices Rose “More Than Expected” In January. (02/20/2018)

Reuters (2/14, Mutikani) reported that Labor Department data released Wednesday show that “US consumer prices rose more than expected in January as Americans paid more for gasoline, rental accommodation and healthcare, raising pressure on new Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell to prevent a possible overheating of the economy.” However, the department’s inflation report “likely overstates the inflation picture given that some of the price gains, especially for apparel and motor vehicle insurance, are seen by economists as unsustainable.” The Federal Reserve “has forecast three rate hikes for this year, with the first increase expected at its next policy meeting in March.”

Business Climate

Pence, Chao Promote Tax Reforms, Infrastructure Plan. (02/20/2018)

In a Dallas (TX) Morning News (2/16, Pence) op-ed, Vice President Pence highlights how the Administration’s economic push has “spurred a remarkable American comeback.” He goes on to promote the recently passed tax law, saying that it will lead the nation into “a new era of growth and optimism” by saving taxpayers money and supporting job and wage growth. Pence adds that the law is “exactly what Texas families need,” and promises that the Administration will “continue to build on our momentum by cutting more red tape, unleashing even more of our nation’s boundless natural resources and passing a historic infrastructure bill that will rebuild America.”

Small Business Marketing

Google’s Mobile Ads Business Sees Huge Growth, Shrinking Margins. (02/20/2018)

Reuters (2/15, Dave) reported Google’s ad business “has posted three straight quarters of year-over-year double-digit sales increases,” and “is nearing $20 billion in annual revenue.” As consumers have migrated “from desktop computing to mobile, momentum has shifted to AdMob, Google’s mass-market tool for third-party apps, and DoubleClick for Publishers, its higher-end mobile software.” Google has continuously “lured app developers from competitors by lowering commissions and simplifying software.” However, this strategy has come at a cost, with Google “giving app and website creators a bigger chunk of ad sales.”

Wages and Benefits

Trump Budget Includes Funds To Subsidize ACA Insurers. (02/20/2018)

The Washington Times (2/18, Howell) reported that while President Trump canceled cost-sharing payments to insurance companies, his new budget includes money to fund the “contentious a move that conservatives say will end up sustaining” the ACA. Trump’s request has “anger[ed] conservative groups that see little reason for Mr. Trump and the Republican-led Congress to reverse a hard-won victory over Obamacare.” The Times called the move “surprising not only because of Mr. Trump’s past criticism but also because the administration seems committed to trying to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act piece by piece.”

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