Small Businesses Skeptical About Future; Optimism Dips
Small-business owner optimism did not “crash “ in September, but it did fall, dropping 0.20 from August’s (corrected) reading of 94.1 and landing at 93.9. The largest contributing factor to the dip was the significant increase in pessimism about future business conditions, although this was somewhat offset by a notable increase in number of small-business owners expecting higher sales. Overall, four Index components improved, four fell and two remained unchanged from August. While it is premature to measure the impact of the government shut-down on the small-business sector, it’s possible that the pending “crisis” impacted economic outlook. October’s reading will reveal the full effect of Washington’s latest crisis on the small-business sector, which has remained cautious throughout the recovery.
Oklahoma Department of Commerce Reveals Oklahoma NOW Recruitment Video
“We have created a united state, built by an unwillingness to fail, connected by our abundant resources.” This first line sets the tone in the newly released Oklahoma NOW video the Oklahoma Department of Commerce revealed on Friday morning.
The video highlights the state’s business ecosystems and boasts the state’s national rankings and Oklahoma advantages for each industry. It was developed to encourage further investment in Oklahoma and bring about interest from in-state and out-of-state jobseekers in key areas of economic opportunity.
Governor Fallin Announces Extension of Insure Oklahoma
In a major victory for Oklahomans, Governor Mary Fallin today announced the state of Oklahoma has negotiated a one year extension for the Insure Oklahoma program. The program provides health insurance for nearly 30,000 working, low-income Oklahomans. It is funded by the state’s tobacco tax matched with federal dollars. Earlier this year, the federal government announced it would not continue its support of Insure Oklahoma and the state should expect the program to expire at the beginning of 2014.
After the announcement that Insure Oklahoma would expire, Fallin directly contacted both President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to underscore the importance of the program to the state. Officials with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, at the governor’s direction, also spent months in negotiations with their federal counterparts. These negotiations have been successful, as an extension has now been agreed to.
Double Digit Decrease for Oklahoma Workers Compensation Loss Costs
An annual filing most insurance carriers will use to develop rates for workers’ compensation insurance shows a dramatic decrease in loss costs, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak announced today. The overall loss cost decrease of 14.6 percent takes effect Jan. 1.
“This is fantastic news for Oklahoma businesses,” said Doak. “Reducing workers compensation costs by enticing new companies to come to the state and allowing current businesses to expand operations can trigger a new wave of economic prosperity. These decreases over a period of time will help to make Oklahoma much more competitive.”