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U.S. consumers more optimistic about labor market, Fed survey finds

U.S. consumers more optimistic about labor market, Fed survey finds

(Reuters) – U.S. consumers in September became slightly less worried about losing their jobs and more optimistic about their earnings, though the effects of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic lingered, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the New York Federal Reserve.

a large stone statue in a park: FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve in Washington

© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve in Washington

The average perceived chance of becoming unemployed over the next year dropped to 16.6% in September from 18% in August but was still well above the pre-pandemic level of 13.8% in February. The drop was driven by an improvement in sentiment among people above age 60 and those with household incomes below $50,000.


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While the U.S. labor market continues to heal from the damage caused by the pandemic, data released by the Labor Department earlier this month shows the recovery is slowing. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 661,000 jobs in September, the smallest gain since the jobs recovery started in May.

The Fed survey suggested that some consumers think the worst of the pain in the labor market has passed. Expectations that the U.S. unemployment rate will be higher in a year dropped to an average 36.4% in September from 39.1% in August.

Consumers reported feeling better about their pay and their ability to spend. The median expectation for household income growth increased to 2.3% in September, up 0.1 percentage point from August but still below the 2019 average of 2.8%. Median expectations for household spending growth increased to 3.4% in September, from 3% in August, reaching the highest level since May 2019.

The survey of consumer expectations is a monthly poll conducted on a rotating panel of 1,300 households.

Median inflation expectations for the next year remained unchanged at 3% at the one-year horizon and expectations for the next three years dropped

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3 Ways Your Small Business Can Pivot Toward Focusing More on Hispanic Consumers

3 Ways Your Small Business Can Pivot Toward Focusing More on Hispanic Consumers

It is estimated that by 2021 more than 50 percent of the U.S. population growth will be attributed to Hispanics based on a report from Geoscape American Marketscape DataStream. Today, youthful diversity is becoming the counterweight to white, aging consumers, and it is forcing brands to redefine themselves — to discover new market opportunities and develop more meaningful, culturally relevant customer experiences. 

a woman standing in front of a window

© Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

We live in a reactive society, not a proactive one, and Corporate America moves slowly. Sometimes, the procedures that companies have in place don’t allow them to react fast enough to market trends. It’s like the old motto that many executives cling to: “If it is not broken why fix it?”


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They think that if consumers want their products or services, they will buy them, and if not then so be it.

That outdated thinking won’t be sustainable moving forward, and it doesn’t have to be thanks to technology that has helped brands communicate to consumers. I remember in early 2000, many marketing executives didn’t believe in the power of digital and social media. Back then, I was participating in marketing meetings where executives had strong opinions about this new technology because it was challenging their status quo. I heard comments like, “This type of technology will never take off” and “I will never invest marketing dollars in it.” 

Now, many corporations are allocating between 40 to 60 percent of their marketing budget to digital and social media. 

That disruption a decade ago is similar to the one Hispanic consumers can create now. They are a big player and influencer in the marketplace. Yet, in the face of such a dynamic shift, I still encounter business owners who say the Hispanic market is not a top priority. They think they

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New Study Reveals 450% Surge in Consumers Texting Main Street Businesses, Restaurants and Salons During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Study Reveals 450% Surge in Consumers Texting Main Street Businesses, Restaurants and Salons During COVID-19 Pandemic

Numa research sees significant boost in conversational commerce

Numa, a leading answering service powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that ensures businesses never miss a call or text, today released its latest research on consumer engagement with Main Street businesses. Its infographic, “COVID-19 Changes How Customers Shop at Main Street Businesses,” illustrates surging demand for conversational commerce among consumers and how businesses are evolving communications to service customers in stores and off premises.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

STUDY REVEALS 450% SURGE IN CONSUMERS TEXTING MAIN STREET BUSINESSES, RESTAURANTS AND SALONS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC. Numa research sees significant boost in conversational commerce. (Graphic: Business Wire)

“Our data, based on actual product usage data from small and medium-sized companies, indicates a shift in customer behavior prompted in large part by the global pandemic and shuttering of businesses,” said Numa Founder and CEO Tasso Roumeliotis. “Even before the crisis, customers had shown a preference for texting with businesses in addition to calling, but over the last several months there has been a dramatic increase in virtual engagement and a desire to communicate across multiple channels.”

Businesses today are not only struggling to meet consumer demand but also to adapt to new operational requirements that bring contactless solutions into the equation. With 98% of all text messages opened and 95% responded to within 3 minutes of being delivered, texting is one of the easiest and most immediate ways for businesses to strengthen consumer relationships—even from afar. Add to that the ability to accommodate curbside pickup and 24/7 communication, which mitigates the impact of limited staff and time away from stores, and businesses immediately possess powerful tools to take them beyond surviving to thriving.

After a deep analysis of user behavior, Numa findings include an increase in

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Yelp rolls out new tactic to warn consumers about businesses accused of ‘overtly racist actions’

Yelp rolls out new tactic to warn consumers about businesses accused of ‘overtly racist actions’

Yelp has a zero tolerance policy for racism.

The company, which publishes and aggregates crowd-sourced business reviews, announced Thursday it will be placing a new “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” on Yelp pages to warn users about businesses that have been said to display “overtly racist actions.” They will also include a direct link to a news article for consumers to learn more about the reported incident.

SUPPORT BLACK BUSINESSES: These black-owned Houston restaurants need your support during the COVID-19 crisis

“We know these values are important to our users and now more than ever, consumers are increasingly conscious of the types of businesses they patronize and support,” Noorie Malik, vice president of user operations, wrote in a blog post. “In fact, we’ve seen that reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses were up more than 617% this summer compared to last summer. Support for women-owned businesses has also increased, with review mentions up 114% for the same time period.”

Malik said that as the nation continues to be affected by systemic racism, Yelp feels an obligation to help consumers make better decisions before spending their hard-earned dollars with businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions.

“So far in 2020, we’ve seen a 133% increase in the number of media-fueled incidences on Yelp compared to the same time last year,” said Malik.

Malik wrote that between May 26, a day after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, and September 30, a week after the Breonna Taylor verdict was announced, Yelp has placed more than 450 alerts on business pages that were either accused of or the target of racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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