1. The U.S. continues to see strong economic expansion, advancing at the highest rate since 2014, with 4.1% GDP growth in the second quarter.
2. Business activity continues to expand in the U.S., outpacing global peers. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index reached its all-time high this year and remains elevated.
3. Retail sales growth continues to climb in 2018, demonstrating strong consumer demand. The National Retail Federation recently increased its annual growth forecast to 4.5%, up from a range of 3.8% to 4.4%, citing strong employment data, wage growth, and U.S. tax reform.