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Growth of the Franchise Business Index slowed as the component measuring employment in franchise-intensive industries showed no monthly gain for the first time in more than three years and the small business optimism index declined.

The index rose 0.2 percent in September to 110.7, the International Franchise Association announced.

"While we are pleased the index grew for the fifth consecutive month, we remain concerned about the overall rate of growth in both new business formation and job creation," said IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira. "We believe comprehensive tax reform that eases the burden on small business owners by lowering the effective tax rate is essential to strong job and wage growth for all Americans."

The other four components of the FBI all made small positive contributions to the index. The unemployment rate declined slightly and the frequency of self-employment rose. Retail sales in franchise-intensive sectors increased by 0.3 percent and the index of credit conditions also ticked up. After incorporating revisions to last month's data for individual components of the index, the August value of the FBI also showed slower growth — up 0.2 percent over the July value.

"The franchise sector continues to exceed the modest pace of overall economic growth, as improvements in the housing market have had a positive impact on consumer spending," said IHS Global Insight Senior Economist James Gillula, "and we do not expect higher mortgage rates to choke off the recovery."

IFA promotes three team members

The IFA has also announced the promotion of three team members in recognition of their contributions to the organization.

Caldeira announced that IFA Director of Finance Virgie Youssef has been promoted to senior director of finance, where she will continue to lead the finance department and take a more active role in IFA's human resources function.

Jason Yusko, IFA director of Information Systems, has been promoted to senior director, where he will guide enhancements to IFA's digital platforms.

Greg Cook has been promoted to senior director of advertising and media solutions, where he will explore new products to bring to the membership and help IFA meet its 2014 revenue and programming goals.

"At IFA, we are extremely fortunate to have team members who go above what is expected every day to protect, promote and enhance franchising," Caldeira said. "Virgie Youssef, Jason Yusko and Greg Cook are all deserving of special recognition for their exemplary contributions to the organization and the franchise industry."

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