Circumnetting the Economy: Mixed Optimism

By March 28, 2011Economy

Bloomberg, “Companies Accelerate Spending as U.S. Productivity Bypasses Jobs

March 28 (Bloomberg) — Cummins Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. are accelerating equipment purchases to boost productivity, reinforcing an unprecedented gap between capital spending and employment in the U.S. that’s restraining a labor-market rebound.

Corporate investment will rise 11 percent this year as sales pick up, following a 15 percent gain in 2010, according to “Man vs. Machine,” a Feb. 2 report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Employment will grow just 1.7 percent, after a 0.7 percent increase last year, the study projects….

Many employers are waiting to see how changes in health- care will affect them, said Joe Trauger, vice president of human-resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington. These and other regulations are “pitfalls that businesses could unknowingly fall into,” and the uncertainty “creates difficulty for hiring,” he said.

CNBC, “US Economy Over the Worst: KPMG Executive Survey“:

In another sign the American economy is on the comeback trail, a new survey from KPMG shows optimism is improving among U.S. manufacturing and service industry executives. Executives in both key sectors say the worst is behind us.

The survey shows 68 percent of manufacturing executives believe business activity will be higher in the next 12 months. That’s up from 57 percent in October.

Philadelphia Inquirer, book review, “PhillyDeals: A bold call to bring American manufacturing back“:

Andrew Liveris, boss at Dow Chemical Co., is an immigrant engineer with a broad agenda: He wants the U.S. government to make American manufacturing strong again.

Bring back factories? Aren’t we a knowledge-based, financially driven, high-level service economy now?

“Denial,” Liveris calls that view in his new book, Make It in America, which his handlers pressed on me during a recent Liveris visit to Dow’s Advanced Materials division headquarters in Philadelphia.

Liveris slams the “apostles” of postindustrial America – ex-Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, glib writers such as Tom Friedman at the New York Times and Gregg Easterbrook at the New Republic, policy lobbyists at the libertarian Cato Institute and the liberal Center for American Progress – and anyone else who ever called factory shutdowns and offshore outsourcing natural steps on the road to an idea-based capitalist paradise.

Washington Post, “New at the top: Stephen V. Gold,” the new president and chief executive of Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, a public policy, business research and executive education organization based in Arlington.

I never saw myself going into the association world initially, but it’s an efficient way to serve businesses, especially manufacturers.

The nonprofit world is about ideas, because we are representing our members here in Washington with regard to policy, developing standards for them and doing economic research. Our job is to help them be more effective in their job.

Leave a Reply