President Obama Embraces Manufacturing Day

President Obama celebrates Manufacturing Day with a tour and a town hall meeting at NAM member Millennium Steel in Princeton, Indiana.

President Obama celebrates Manufacturing Day with a tour and a town hall meeting at NAM member Millennium Steel in Princeton, Indiana.

Manufacturing Day is a wonderful showcase for manufacturers to open their doors to students and local communities to show them how sleek, clean and technology driven manufacturing has become. NAM member Millennium Steel is doing the same – but they’ll have to opportunity to welcome a very special guest today – President Obama. The Princeton, Indiana manufacturer will host the President, along with twenty students from local universities, for a tour of their facilities.

After the tour, those students will join a larger group of invitees, including Millennium employees, suppliers and others, for a town hall meeting with the President.

In the first three years of Manufacturing Day, we have seen incredible growth. This year there will be more than 1,600 events – an 800% increase since the inaugural day in 2012. During his time in office, the President has continually talked up the importance of manufacturing to the United States.

This year for Manufacturing Day, he issued an official Proclamation stating, “Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 3, 2014, as National Manufacturing Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with programs and activities that highlight the contributions of American manufacturers, and I encourage all Americans to visit a manufacturer in their local community.

Today is a celebration, and here at the NAM, we’re extremely proud of the manufacturers in the U.S. who are driving Manufacturing Day’s massive success.

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Super Steel Celebrates Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing Day is almost upon us and more than 1,500 events are scheduled to show case modern manufacturing around the country.

Super Steel has been celebrating Manufacturing Day since its inception and this year they’re hosting Senator Ron Johnson to kick off their event.

“We are very excited to open our doors to the community for an insider’s look at Super Steel,” said Heather Krugler, Corporate Communications Specialist at Super Steel. “Manufacturing Day activities help to create awareness about the value of the manufacturing industry to our community. It provides students a first-hand chance to learn about real career opportunities that are available and we’re hoping to inspire a new generation of manufacturers.”

Click here to learn more and join Super Steel on Manufacturing Day.

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Kansas City Fed: After Slowing in August, Manufacturing Activity Picked Up a Little in September

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity picked up a little in September, rebounding after slowing in August. The composite index of general business conditions increased from 3 in August to 6 in September. Through the first nine months of 2014, the main index has averaged 6.7, peaking at 10 in both March and May. As such, we continue to see modest gains among manufacturers in the Kansas City Fed district, with mostly positive expectations about the future.

For instance, the index for production rose from 4 in July to 12 in August, with the percentage of survey respondents saying that output had increased for the month rising from 25 percent to 34 percent. In contrast, one-quarter of those taking the survey said that their production levels were falling. Similar figures could be seen for shipments (up from 2 to 14). Employment shifted into positive territory (up from -4 to 7), with the average workweek also improving (up from -1 to 2). On the downside, the pace of new orders eased marginally, down from 6 to 5.

Several of the sample comments discussed skills shortages. As one respondent put it, “It is still very difficult to fill open positions for any type of worker from production to professional. I am seeing the same issue everywhere in our community.” The other issue of note in the comments was pricing pressures, both for wages and raw materials.  With that said, domestic energy production was mentioned as a positive for manufacturers in the region.

Looking ahead six months, manufacturers in the district remained optimistic overall. While the future-oriented composite index was unchanged at 17, over half of the respondents anticipate higher levels of production and shipments in the next six months. Moreover, the percentage expecting increased new orders rose from 38 percent to 44 percent for the months. Around 30 percent of those taking the survey plan to hire new workers or invest in more capital.

Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers. 

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Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference – Register Today!

When you think of manufacturing, these days you think of technology, innovation and revolutionary products. Manufacturing companies are utilizing new technologies to bring costs down and quality and production up. Iowa is on the forefront of this manufacturing resurgence and on October 9th, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) will be host an Advanced Manufacturing Conference in Ankeny, Iowa.

This all day event boasts a wealth of information for Iowa’s manufacturers, including a speech on fostering innovation by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

ABI President Mike Ralston is excited about the value to ABI members, saying, “Iowa is a manufacturing state and ABI is excited about bringing manufacturers together for a day of information and insight. This conference features terrific national speakers and the opportunity to hear about the manufacturing policies if Iowa’s two U.S. senate candidates. Don’t miss it.”

It promises to be an excellent program and you can register here. Manufacturing is the backbone of our economy – come support and learn more about how Iowa is leading the way.

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NAM Leadership Roadshow Makes Stop in Big Apple

With Election Day right around the corner, the NAM held its fifth nationwide Leadership Engagement Series event NYC Eventin New York City today. Top manufacturing CEOs from Stanley Black & Decker Inc., American Air Liquide Holdings, ACE Clearwater Enterprises and C.R. Bard Inc. joined NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons to discuss pressing issues impacting manufacturers.

From comprehensive immigration reform and job creation to federal regulations and tax reform, manufacturers are in need of real leadership to get our country back on track. The lack of action in Washington is creating such uncertainty that the manufacturing sector risks losing the progress we’ve made in revitalizing our economy.

In New York, for example, manufacturing exports contributed nearly $69 billion to the state’s economy in 2013. Yet, Congress has failed to find a long-term solution for reauthorizing the U.S. Export-Import Bank—a critical tool that helps exporters obtain funding for projects abroad.

The Leadership Engagement Series encourages manufacturers to get personally engaged in the political process because if we don’t make our stories known to lawmakers… no one will.



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NAM Drives Voter Registration as Part of Election Year Efforts

The NAM joined other top business groups, including the Business-Industry Political Action Committee and National Retail Federation to highlight the Employee Voter Registration Week. NAM Senior Vice President Ned Monroe touted the effort, designed to increase voter registration and electoral participation among private sector employees, as part of the NAM’s significant election season efforts.

With public opinion viewing Darth Vader in more favorable light than any politician, and a strong belief that the United States is headed in the wrong direction, it is a daunting political atmosphere. While some may take a less engaged path, the NAM is doubling down on our efforts to ensure that manufacturers are engaged and participating in the electoral process.

The NAM’s Election Center website will not only serve as a go-to resource with Voter Guides articulating where candidates stand on the issues, but a provide a “How-To” guide to engage employees and a tool kit to promote voter registration.

The NAM will be holding educational events in key states across the country, partnering with national and state organizations to take these critical messages to employers’ front door. We’re working hard to get the message out that now is a critical time to take ownership and impact the policies coming out of Washington. These policies will affect manufacturers’ business decisions and the manufacturing voice is more important than ever.

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NAM Executive Committee Member Named to Maryland Top CEO’s List

The NAM Board of Directors is comprised of some of the Nation’s most distinguished and influential manufacturing leaders. Maryland's Most Admired CEOs Daily Record 9-2014 (1)Recently NAM Board Member and Executive Committee Member Drew Greenblatt was honored by the Daily Record in the publication’s annual list of Maryland’s Most Admired CEO’s.

Drew is the President and Owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products, LLC, a Baltimore-based manufacturing company. He has been an active and passionate advocate on behalf of manufacturers and works diligently to ensure policymakers are hearing directly from business owners about issues impacting the sector.

Marlin Steel was awarded this distinction based on excellence in several different categories including leadership and vision, competitiveness and innovation, and financial growth and performance.

Drew and his team are incredibly deserving of this honor and the NAM will continue to benefit for years to come from his leadership.

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Information the Name of the Game for Teradata

As part of a blog series in advance of tomorrow’s D.A.TA. Policy Center event hosted being held at the Verizon Innovation Center – West, we’re taking a look at how Teradata’s analytic solutions are influencing and affecting the renaissance in manufacturing and technology.

Data is often the name of the game – information is king and those that have it are better equipped to handle the ups and downs of a competitive economy. Teradata’s leadership status in analytic data solutions has been critical in helping manufacturers in the U.S. gaining a competitive advantage by adopting data-driven processes. Technology trends are always changing and manufacturers that have the understanding and advance insight are in a position to take advantage of openings in markets both at home and abroad.

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Monday Economic Report – September 22, 2014

Here is the summary of this week’s Monday Economic Report: 

Manufacturing production declined unexpectedly in August, led lower by reduced motor vehicle output. This drop was likely the result of automakers’ switching over to a new model year and summer vacations. Indeed, auto production has risen 8.1 percent over the past 12 months, continuing to make it one of the bright spots in the economy. Excluding autos, manufacturing output rose 0.1 percent, suggesting slightly better news for the broader sector. Still, the larger story is the accelerated pace of output seen since the winter months, with the year-over-year pace up from 1.6 percent in January to 4.0 percent in August. Durable and nondurable goods production has increased 5.6 percent and 2.2 percent year-over-year, respectively. Hopefully, the August figures reflect a brief pause before picking up again in September.

Regional sentiment surveys tend to suggest that this might be the case. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey from the New York Federal Reserve Bank said that business conditions rose at their fastest pace in nearly five years, with 46 percent of those taking the survey saying that the environment had improved in the month. At the same time, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey found healthy rates of growth in September, even as the pace pulled back slightly from very strong gains in August. Each of these two surveys reported higher levels for new orders and shipments, but they were mixed regarding hiring growth. Nonetheless, manufacturers in both districts were overwhelming upbeat about the next six months, with more than half of respondents predicting sales increases. Moreover, the Philly Fed found that a majority of those taking its survey expect production to increase in the third and fourth quarters.

Meanwhile, housing starts fell from an annualized 1,117,000 units in July to 956,000 in August. To be fair, the July figure—the second fastest pace since November 2007—was likely an outlier, and the pendulum—not unexpectedly—swung back somewhat. Yet, the slowdown in August was still disappointing. On the bright side, while single-family and multi-family unit starts and permits were both down, the highly volatile multi-family segment comprised the bulk of the decline. Looking at a longer time horizon, each has continued a slow, but steady upward trajectory. I continue to expect housing starts to be solidly at 1.1 million by year’s end. Indeed, home-builder confidence was equally optimistic about better figures moving forward, with the Housing Market Index at its highest level since November 2005.

The Federal Reserve Board provided the other major headline from last week. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) began laying out its principles for winding down the extraordinary stimulus that it has pursued since the financial crisis at the end of 2008. The Fed will end its purchases of long-term and mortgage-backed securities after its October FOMC meeting, and the expectation is that short-term interest rates will begin to “normalize” at some point in 2015. The federal funds rate, however, will remain near zero for a “considerable time after the asset purchase program ends,” a statement that some suggest means that normalization will not occur until mid-2015 at the earliest. Fortunately, news that consumer and producer pricing pressures eased in August was likely welcomed at the FOMC because it takes some pressure off of the Fed to act sooner, at least for now. (Inflation has accelerated from where it was earlier in the year, but remains below the Fed’s stated 2.0 percent goal.)

In its FOMC statement, the Federal Reserve said that “economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace.” Nonetheless, it continues to worry about slack in the economy, particularly in labor markets. The Fed predicts growth this year of between 2.0 and 2.2 percent, with 2.6 to 3.0 percent real GDP growth next year. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 5.9 or 6.0 percent by the end of 2014 and 5.4 to 5.6 percent by the end of 2015. In terms of inflation, the Fed forecasts prices growing by less than 2.0 percent over the next few years. If core inflation consistently exceeds 2.0 percent, it will give greater credence to hawks on the FOMC to increase rates sooner rather than later.

This week, we will get a sense of how manufacturing activity is faring globally with preliminary purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data from Markit for China, the Eurozone and the United States. The Chinese economy has begun to stabilize after slowing earlier in the year, but is still not growing by much. European growth has effectively come to a halt. In the United States, however, recent PMI data have reflected healthy gains in both demand and output over the summer months. We will also get new surveys from the Kansas City and Richmond Federal Reserve banks. Beyond those surveys, we will get the second revision to real GDP growth for the second quarter on Friday, with a consensus estimate of 4.3 percent growth, or just slightly higher than the previous 4.2 percent figure.

Other highlights this week include the latest data on consumer confidence, durable goods orders and shipments, and existing and new home sales.

Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers. 

housing starts and permits - sept2014

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CASE Act – A Smart Approach to Ozone

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) applauds Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Representatives Pete Olson (R-TX) and Bob Latta (R-OH) for proposing a reasonable approach to ozone regulations that would provide necessary relief to manufacturers who already pay, on average, $19,500 per employee, per year in regulatory costs according to a recent NAM study. In three months, these costs could increase substantially as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to propose a new ozone air quality standard that could be more expensive than any single existing regulation.

The NAM has continually encouraged policymakers to adopt reasonable policies that promote a clean environment while allowing manufacturers to remain competitive in the global marketplace. The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act does exactly that. It would ensure that air quality continues to improve while giving states and counties time to meet the existing standards without adding another layer of regulatory burdens; ensure that economically stifling nonattainment designations are only made if there is accurate monitored data to support such findings; require EPA to consider all impacts to the public before proposing a tighter standard including health, environmental and economic; and require the EPA to include at least one analysis that presents to the public the benefits of reducing ozone levels – the purpose of the regulation – without any of the so called co-benefits from other pollutants already covered under other programs.

In July, the NAM released a study that found a tighter ozone standard could cost the economy trillions of dollars and millions of jobs. One of the most disturbing findings from the study was that EPA has only identified one-third of the necessary controls to meet the low-end of the standard it is considering; classifying the remaining two-thirds of necessary controls as “unknown”.  While little question exists regarding how massively expensive such a regulations would be (EPA’s own estimate would still make it the most expensive regulation of all time), there are legitimate concerns regarding whether a significantly lower ozone standard is even achievable in many parts of the country, regardless of costs.

Senator Thune’s and Representatives Olson’s and Latta’s CASE Act ensures that two important trends are permitted to continue: improving air quality and a growing economy. The NAM looks forward to working with Senator Thune, Representatives Olson and Latta, cosponsoring members of congress, and all members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to pass this important legislation.

Senate cosponsors include, Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Roy Blunt (R- Missouri), Dan Coats (R-Indiana), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

House cosponsors include, Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), John Shimkus (R-Illinois), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Ralph Hall (R-Texas), Tom McClintock (R-California), Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois), Scott Tipton (R-Colorado), David McKinley R-West Virginia), Jason Smith (R-Missouri), Walter Jones (R-North Carolina), Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Mike Pompeo R-Kansas), Gregg Harper (R-Mississippi), Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Billy Long (R-Missouri), and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio).

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