NAM Urges SEC to Suspend Pay Ratio Rule

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In response to a February 6th statement and request for comment made by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Acting Chairman, Michael Piwowar as he reexamines the pay ratio rule, the NAM submitted comments March 23rd urging the SEC to indefinitely suspend implementation of the rule while encouraging Congress to repeal this onerous requirement. The NAM also joined with several other trade associations in a joint letter to the SEC, voicing unified opposition to the pay ratio requirement.  Read More

Markit: Eurozone Manufacturing Activity Rose in March at Fastest Rate since April 2011

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The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI rose from 55.4 in February to 56.2 in March, its fastest rate since April 2011. As such, the continent’s economy continues to move in the right direction, with activity accelerating at a modest rate. The headline PMI has trended higher since bottoming at 51.6 thirteen months ago. The underlying data were mostly higher in March. New orders (up from 56.1 to 56.9), exports (up from 55.5 to 56.2) and employment (up from 54.3 to 55.1) each accelerated in the latest survey. In addition, output (down from 57.3 to 57.2) continued to expand rather strongly despite easing a little in this survey. Likewise, respondents remained upbeat about future output (down from 66.7 to 66.3) even though that measure has pulled back for the second straight month from January’s three-year high. Read More

New Durable Goods Orders Expanded for the Second Straight Month, Continuing to Show Progress

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The Census Bureau said that new durable goods orders expanded for the second straight month, up 1.7 percent in February after rising by 2.3 percent in January. New orders increased from $231.53 billion in January to $235.39 billion in February, a four-month high. However, much of the gain in February could be explained by a large jump in nondefense aircraft and parts orders, up 47.6 percent, which can often be quite volatile from month-to-month. Excluding transportation, new orders for durable goods rose 0.3 percent for the month, up from $154.41 billion to $154.99 billion. Overall, new durable goods demand has continued to trend in the right direction after stalling for much of the past couple years. New durable goods orders have increased 5.1 percent since February 2016’s $224.08 billion pace; excluding transportation, orders grew 4.6 percent year-over-year, up from $148.14 billion. Read More

Senate Moves to Reign In Regulatory Overreach on Innovators

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Late last year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the guise of protecting privacy, rolled out a rule creating a new and unnecessary regulatory regime that would impact the ability of manufacturers to innovate. Today, the US Senate passed a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that would rescind the regulation. This is good news for manufacturers.  Read More

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded in February at Fastest Rate since May 2011

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity expanded in March at its fastest rate since May 2011. The composite index of general business conditions rose from 14 in February to 20 in March, expanding for the fourth straight month. As such, manufacturing conditions have continued to improve after notable challenges over the past two years from global headwinds and reduced commodity prices, especially for crude oil. Outside of the headline number, the underlying indices also suggested relatively very robust gains in new orders (up from 26 to 32), production (up from 11 to 37) and shipments (up from 16 to 35). There was some easing for the employment (down from 17 to 13), the average workweek (down from 15 to 13) and exports (down from 9 to 2), but each of these indices remained promising overall. Exports, for instance, were positive for only the second time in the past 16 months. Read More

Manufacturers Disappointed by U.S.-Canada Investment Ruling that Sidesteps Core IP Questions to the Detriment of U.S. Manufacturing

By | Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Co-authored by Patrick Forrest, NAM Vice President of Litigation and Deputy General Counsel

Manufacturers in the United States are deeply disappointed by an international panel decision that ruled in Canada’s favor purely on a threshold issue, sidestepping core investment and intellectual property (IP) issues at the heart of the case. In so doing, the panel failed to provide relief from Canada’s actions that undermine innovation and IP protection to the detriment of U.S. manufacturing and jobs. Read More

Manufacturers Support Committee Action on Mobile Workforce Bill

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The NAM is pleased that the House Judiciary Committee on March 21 is slated to consider the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 1393) introduced by U.S. Reps. Mike Bishop (R-MI) and Hank Johnson (D-GA). The bill, which has been introduced in a several previous Congresses, clarifies and simplifies the ability of states to tax non-resident employees temporarily working in the state and eliminate a tax and compliance burden felt by job creators and their workers. From our perspective, this commonsense legislation is more urgent than ever.

Many manufacturers have employees who travel outside their home states as part of their job. Unfortunately, these out-of-state assignments sometimes result in an arbitrary and punitive compliance burden and tax liability for both employees and employers. In particular, employees are required to track and comply with various tax filing requirements while employers are required to maintain records and withhold state income taxes for these employees. This compliance burden is particularly onerous for small and medium-sized manufacturers that do not have in-house tax departments.

H.R. 1393 would clarify that a state cannot assess state income taxes on a nonresident employee temporarily working in the state for 30 days or less in a calendar year. Conversely, states could legitimately tax nonresident employees working more than 30 days a year in the state.

We urge all members of Congress to support quick action on this important tax simplification legislation. Clarifying the ability of states to tax mobile workforces will free up resources for employers to use in their business and leave more money in the paychecks of their employees.

New Strategy Needed to Address Foreign Price Controls, Other Localization Barriers

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Manufacturers and workers in the United States are competing to win in the global economy. Battling substantial and growing market-distorting practices by other countries that tilt the playing field in their favor is but one of many challenges. These types of practices harm manufacturers and workers here in the United States not only by creating protected foreign markets that spur unfair trade by our competitors but also by blocking access by U.S. exports to the 95 percent of consumers living outside U.S. borders.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has long been a leading voice calling on U.S. and foreign government officials to address unfair trade practices and barriers. In its October 2016 submission to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for its National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), the NAM urged the U.S. government and other stakeholders to address a wide variety of foreign trade barriers faced by manufacturers in the United States in nearly 50 countries and regions. Unsurprisingly, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Russia lead the way as challenging markets with high barriers for manufacturers in the United States. These practices come in a variety of forms, including import and export restrictions, weak intellectual property enforcement, investment caps, technical barriers to trade and a wide array of localization barriers that explicitly or implicitly discriminate directly against foreign manufacturers, products, intellectual property or data.

As recently noted by President Donald Trump, one illustrative example of foreign localization that harms not only manufacturers in the United States but also U.S. consumers is the use of foreign price controls. Over many years, many foreign governments have shrunk the market for U.S. exports of innovative health products by instituting strict price caps in their government-run health systems. Their targets have largely been innovative pharmaceutical, medical devices and other health products that exist thanks to American ingenuity, research and development and strong U.S. intellectual property protections. Localization measures such as price controls chill the innovative life cycle, harming the U.S. economy, jobs and the patients who are waiting for the next generation of cutting-edge cures. While successive U.S. administrations have recognized and sought to curb these unfair localization barriers, including through recognition in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, more concrete action is needed to not just identify but also to address and stop the proliferation of foreign price controls.

As the Trump administration charts its path for trade policy that seeks to grow manufacturing and innovation in the United States in part through eliminating market-distorting actions overseas, the NAM strongly encourages the U.S. government to address foreign price controls and other localization barriers as a priority, including through the release of its annual trade barriers report slated by March 31.

It is time for a new strategy on these issues that will create a more fair and level playing field globally to grow the competitiveness of manufacturing in the United States. Such a strategy must include a robust enforcement agenda and ensure that new and ongoing trade negotiations reward the value of innovation. At a time when the global economy is performing well below expectations, now is the time to tear down the barriers that are holding back manufacturing in the United States from growing opportunities around the world for the benefit of jobs and growth here at home.

Manufacturing Production Expanded for the Sixth Straight Month, Continuing to Show Signs of Progress

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Federal Reserve said that manufacturing production expanded for the sixth consecutive month. Output in the sector was up 0.5 percent in February, mirroring the gain seen in January. These data continue to reflect an improving manufacturing sector, with activity turning a corner after struggling for much of the past two years from a number of economic headwinds. Indeed, manufacturing production has increased 1.2 percent over the past 12 months, up from 0.6 percent in the prior report. To put the recent progress in perspective, the year-over-year rate was -0.5 percent just six months ago. The year-over-year number was also the fastest pace since April 2015. Similarly, manufacturing capacity utilization rose from 75.3 percent to 75.6 percent, a 16-month high. Read More