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Unite Our Country—Vote Manufacturing

By | General, Shopfloor Main | One Comment
The NAM Council of Manufacturing Association's 2015 Winter Leadership Conference, held Jan14-16, in Wilmington, Delaware.

The CMA’s 2015 Winter Leadership Conference, held January 14-16 in Wilmington, Del.

By Heidi Brock, President and CEO, The Aluminum Association

It’s impossible to turn on the news without hearing about some new twist or turn in the presidential election, and sometimes this campaign feels like the longest in memory—or in history. I find the political conversation this cycle is either starkly off the table or everywherewhether at a summer BBQ (is your family united behind the same candidate?) or traveling overseas (where every taxi ride includes a conversation about U.S. presidential politics). Many of us wonder, will it ever endlet alone, how will it end?

Well, yes, it will end. In less than four months, which will go fast, voters will head to the polls, elections will be determined, and a new president will be sworn into office. So a key question is, will we end up with leaders committed to strengthening U.S.  manufacturing?

With so much of the news coverage focusing on the reality TV dimension of this campaign season, it can be easy to overlook what’s really at stake: jobs, opportunity, paychecks and our communities. Will we remove the barriers standing in the way of manufacturers, or will we empower our sector to reach its full potential? Our entire country benefits from a thriving manufacturing sector and importantly benefits the more than 12 million men and women who make things in America. And another great thingsupporting manufacturing is a way to unite our country. It is something that both parties can be for and achieve together.

Manufacturers’ policy priorities are clear. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) spelled them out early this year in a pro-growth policy agenda, titled “Competing to Win.

The agenda includes a range of policy solutions: comprehensive tax and regulatory reform to ease the onerous burdens on businesses, serious investment in our ailing infrastructure and expanded opportunities for manufacturers to sell their products to customers overseas, while ensuring robust enforcement of trade policies, to name a few.

The bottom line is this: policymakers in Washington shouldn’t be distracted by silly partisan fights. They need to articulate a policy agenda that grows manufacturing in our country. And when manufacturers head to the polls, we must make sure we know where candidates stand on these important issues. So, let’s be sure that in this election season, we have done all we can to raise the profile of the manufacturing sector. Let’s be sure in this election season we get out the vote for manufacturing.

To spotlight these issues, members of the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) are launching a Shopfloor blog series called CMA Insights. Over the coming months, you’ll hear from manufacturers from across the sector on what issues matter to us and what we expect from our leaders.

As chairman of the CMA, I am focused on ensuring that we not only strengthen the CMA but that our concerns and priorities are heard loud and clear by lawmakers. Cable news may not always cover the real issues, but CMA Insights certainly will! And remember, a great way to unite our country is to vote manufacturing.

Don’t miss NAM Senior Vice President of Communications Erin Streeter’s interview with Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock live on periscope at the CMA Summer Leadership Conference. Tune in on August 11 at 1:00 p.m. to hear more on why manufacturers must join together to share their stories.

Heidi Biggs Brock joined The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Va., as president in October 2011 and became CEO in October 2013. The association’s 104 members represent a significant majority of the primary U.S. aluminum producers, secondary producers and semifabricated product producers, as well as industry suppliers and distributors. Member companies operate approximately 180 plants in North America, with many conducting business worldwide. Brock is chair of the NAM’s CMA. The CMA, made up of nearly 260 industry-specific manufacturing associations, is a vital component of the NAM, providing resources and networks to members to broaden the reach of the NAM’s advocacy efforts.

regional Fed

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Contracted Again in July

By | General | No Comments

After slightly expanding for the first time since January 2015 in June, manufacturing activity in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s district contracted once again in July. The composite index of general business conditions dropped from 2 in June to -6 in July. This region has been challenged for much of the past two years by pullbacks in the energy sector and the stronger U.S. dollar, and the sample comments suggest that post-Brexit anxieties might have lowered sentiment in this release’s data. New orders (down from 4 to -5), production (down from 12 to -15) and shipments (down from 10 to -17) all returned to negative territory for the month. One-third of all respondents saying that their sales were lower in July, with 28 percent suggesting that sales were higher and 37 percent noting no change. At the same time, the rate of decline somewhat for both hiring (down from -4 to -5) and exports (down from -1 to -7). Interestingly, the average workweek (up from 1 to 7) widened in this report. Read More

retail

Retail Spending Picked Up in June

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The Census Bureau said that retail sales picked up in June, increasing by 0.6 percent and rising for the third straight month. Spending rose by 2.0 percent in the second quarter, a nice improvement from being down 0.6 percent in the first quarter. This suggests that Americans were more willing to open their pocketbooks in recent months – progress after a more cautious stance at the end of last year and earlier this year. Retail sales have increased by 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, up from 2.2 percent in the prior report. Moreover, reduced gasoline prices (down 9.6 percent year-over-year) pulled the headline number lower. Excluding gasoline, retail sales were up 3.9 percent year-over-year, suggesting that consumers have increased their purchases have risen at a fairly decent pace over the past year. Read More

FAA Extension Takes off from House on Time

By | General, Shopfloor Policy, Transportation | No Comments

Today, the House passed H.R. 636 to extend the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs until September 30, 2017. While manufacturers are eager for the long-term certainty that a full FAA authorization brings, the 15-month bipartisan extension negotiated between the House and Senate is a next-best option. Manufacturers appreciate the effort to avoid stop-gap extensions, which create instability and disadvantage our job creators when a bipartisan bill like this can’t get over the finish line.

To reach bipartisan consensus, the bill also includes some modest policy provisions on safety and security that were negotiated between House and Senate aviation leaders. Of note, the legislation includes additional guidance on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drone use, specifically for emergency response and critical infrastructure. The innovative applications of drones are endless and show great promise for manufacturers who are looking to UAS technology to inspect and secure facilities and other land-based assets. This guidance takes a practical approach to ensure safety remains the top priority while realizing the potential of this new technology.

With a 15-month reprieve, there is still important work to accomplish, and the NAM urges Congress to seek a long-term bipartisan FAA reauthorization ahead of the September 30, 2017, deadline. Reforms that would enhance the competitiveness of U.S. aerospace manufacturing through improvements to the FAA’s certification process for aircraft design and modifications are critical and should not be delayed. As aviation technology advances and manufacturing becomes more innovative, red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies pose a risk to our globally competitive and enviable position in this sector. The FAA international certification process must not encumber, but strengthen American exports of aerospace products, which grew its annual trade surplus to a record $82.5 billion in 2015.

Today, Congress acted to keep critical FAA programs and the world’s largest aviation market open without further delay, and manufacturers urge the Senate to quickly get the FAA extension to the president’s desk. However, Congress must now recommit to working on a bipartisan, long-term bill that addresses critical reforms that support manufacturing competitiveness as well as bold funding solutions to tackle growing airport infrastructure demand, which create backlogs that cost American travelers and manufacturers billions of dollars annually.

NAM’s Timmons: Our Economy Isn’t Creating Jobs Fast Enough!

By | General, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

July 16 Job Numbers - Jay

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release of the June jobs numbers today:

“While many in Washington may claim today’s report is a positive development, the bottom line is that an increase in the unemployment rate is unacceptable. Our economy isn’t creating jobs fast enough, especially manufacturing jobs. While 14,000 new manufacturing jobs last month is a positive development, we have lost 24,000 manufacturing jobs so far this year. We are not reaching our full potential. Our elected leaders in Washington and candidates on the campaign trail need to give us clear answers. What are they going to do to remove barriers to economic growth? If they need a guide, manufacturers have already outlined a clear agenda to move us forward.

“It’s frustrating for manufacturers to hear both major party candidates pretend the solution is to bash free trade and perpetuate myths about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade agreements in general. It’s time for this isolationist rhetoric to stop. It helps no one—except our competitors in the global economy. The United States should be writing the rules on trade. Trade opens up opportunities for manufacturers in the United States to reach new customers with our products, strengthening our economy and creating good jobs.”

Driving a Global Movement to Zero Waste

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Sustainability | No Comments

blog-header

This guest blog post is authored by John Bradburn, GM global manager of waste reduction. It is the inaugural blog post in the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturing a Sustainable Future blog series. 

It’s an exciting time to be working in the automotive industry. Our chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, believes the industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. GM is restructuring its portfolio to maximize vehicle efficiencies, electrifying vehicles and providing connectivity solutions that promote sustainability. All of this transformation includes our operations and how we make our products. We are committed to responsible manufacturing that conserves our industry’s vital resources. Read More

Section 385: From Debt to Equity—Listen to NAM’s Latest Tax Podcast

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Taxation | No Comments

Though released as part of a package designed to curb cross-border mergers, the Treasury’s broad regulations do little to stop this activity. Instead, these efforts will have a significant negative impact on manufacturers in the United States while stifling investments, job creation and economic growth.

In this week’s Shopfloor podcast, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Dorothy Coleman and NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy Carolyn Lee discuss the implications of these regulations.

Honoring Ron Bullock, a Manufacturing Champion

By | General, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

On behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), I send my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Ron Bullock, owner and chairman of Bison Gear & Engineering.

Beyond his leadership at Bison, Ron was committed to advancing the cause of manufacturing in the United States. I was proud to work alongside him at the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute in our efforts to strengthen the manufacturing workforce. As former chairman of the Institute, a member of the NAM Board of Directors and a member of our Workforce and Competitiveness Task Force, Ron gave generously of his time and energy to work selflessly to expand opportunity for all. Our industry is stronger thanks to Ron, and I know many lives have been changed for the better in Illinois and across the country, thanks to his support of our industry and his community. He will be missed at Bison, and we will miss him at the NAM.

Bison

durable goods

Strong Aircraft Sales Pushed New Durable Goods Orders Sharply Higher in April

By | Economy, General, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Census Bureau said that new durable goods orders increased 3.4 percent in April, extending the 1.9 percent gain seen in March. Sales of new durable goods orders rose from $228.3 billion in March to $235.9 billion in April. Demand have risen in three of the four months so far in 2016, providing some encouragement for a sector that has experienced its share of softness over the past year. On a year-over-year basis, sales have risen from $231.5 billion in April 2015, an increase of 1.9 percent. Yet, much of that gain came from transportation equipment, particularly aircraft sales. Excluding transportation, new orders for durable goods increased by just 0.4 percent, and over the past 12 months, that figure was down 1.4 percent. This suggests that demand remains somewhat weaker than the headline number would seem to indicate – a sign that durable goods manufacturers continue to be challenged beyond automobiles and aircraft. Read More

ISM

ISM: Manufacturing Activity Expanded for Second Straight Month, Slowing a Little in April

By | Economy, General, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) expanded for the second straight month, albeit at a slower pace in April. The composite index declined from 51.8 in March to 50.8 in April, but even with the decrease, this represented progress in the manufacturing sector after contracting for five consecutive months from October through February. New orders (down from 58.3 to 55.8) and production (down from 55.3 to 54.2) each grew at decent rates for the month despite some easing in this release, and exports (up from 52.0 to 52.5) accelerated, increasing for only the third time in the last 12 months.

Last month’s release helped to fuel the narrative that manufacturing activity was starting to stabilize, and the current data mostly support that view. At the same time, though, manufacturers remain challenged by global headwinds and still-low commodity prices, and a number of economic indicators have been disappointing, highlighting the fact that business’ struggles are still far from over. The sample comments tended to echo this nuanced view of modest improvements, with some respondents noting a pickup in sales while others cited ongoing sluggishness. One’s perspective was likely industry-specific. Read More