The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the U.S. economy grew just 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter at the annual rate, decelerating from 3.9 percent and 2.0 percent growth in the prior two quarters, respectively. For the year as a whole, real GDP increased 2.4 percent in 2015, the same pace as observed in 2014. The preliminary data were pulled lower by weak business investment, inventory spending and net export figures, with consumer spending being one of the larger bright spots in the report. With that said, personal consumption expenditures rose an annualized 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, easing from 3.0 percent growth in the third quarter. Consumer spending added 2.1 percent to real GDP in 2015, and in the fourth quarter, it added nearly 1.5 percentage points to the headline figure. This finding mostly mirrors decent but softer-than-desired retail spending activity seen at the end of the year, as Americans remain somewhat anxious about the economic outlook. Read More
Catch our daily wrap-up of the 2016 NAM State of Manufacturing Tour: Stop 1. New Hampshire
Today kicked off our 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour! The tour is a series of speeches and events being held across the country in January and February to highlight the vital role that the industry plays in the U.S. economy and in changing perceptions of manufacturing.
The Tour began today at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. with an address from NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. Timmons provided tremendous insights into how manufacturers continue to drive economic growth in the United States and how they are leading an innovation revolution that will win jobs for America, raise standards of living and restore our nation’s standing around the world! In New Hampshire Timmons unveiled “Competing to Win: Manufacturers’ Agenda for Economic Growth and American Exceptionalism”—a roadmap to guide manufacturing voters and candidates as they navigate the upcoming elections.
We invite you to take a look at some of the key highlights from our first stop below! … And now on to Florida for stop 2!
Opening Remarks from NAM President and CEO, Jay Timmons
Behind the Scenes:
In the News:
— Nat Assoc of Mfg (@ShopFloorNAM) January 28, 2016
Sign Our Pledge To Stand With Manufacturing!
A State of Manufacturing Tour guest blog post, by Jim Roche, President of the Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire’s Statewide Chamber of Commerce
Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) kicked off its 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour in New Hampshire – and with good reason! New Hampshire is a hotbed of innovative manufacturing and home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary less than two weeks from now.
Here at the Business & Industry Association (BIA) of New Hampshire, NAM’s official affiliate in the Granite State, we fight every day for policies that support our manufacturers – our state’s most important job creators. We push state legislators, the governor, our congressional delegation, and regulators for public policy and common sense solutions that are friendly to job creators and promote prosperity for New Hampshire businesses.
At today’s stop, NAM laid out several key public policies that will help put manufacturing in America on solid ground, including important ideas like fixing our outdated tax code and up
grading old infrastructure to take us toward a more modern economy.
Today’s tour also highlighted the many ways manufacturers are changing our lives for the better. Manufacturing has grown well beyond the outdated images of mill and textile work, particularly in New England. Today, manufacturing leads in electronics, fabricated metals, machinery and technology. And manufacturing is connecting people across continents. The sector offers outstanding jobs and careers for nearly 68,000 New Hampshire workers. New Hampshire’s manufacturers export almost $4 billion of goods around the world every year, bringing new wealth and economic activity into our state’s economy.
As we move deeper into this important election season, manufacturing voters are asking candidates hard questions about how they will help America compete to win in a global economy. No matter the outcome of the election, we need policies that support today’s diverse and dynamic manufacturers. When manufacturing succeeds – we’re all better off.
Last week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue delivered his State of American Business address. He spoke of the challenges and opportunities that businesses in the United States see on a daily basis, and he touched on a range of important policy issues. But he also brought up an important political concern: the type of troubling rhetoric we’re hearing in this year’s political campaign.
He observed, “[T]here are voices—sometimes very loud voices—who talk about walling off America from talent and trade and who are attacking whole groups of people based not on their conduct but on their ethnicity or religion.” Read More
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity contracted for the fifth straight month in January. The composite index of general business activity rose from -10.2 in December to -3.5 in January, and yet, the headline figure has now been in negative territory since September. (Note that prior data reflect an annual revision for seasonal adjustments.) The underlying data were mixed. The pace of decline for new orders (up from -11.1 to -1.4) slowed in this latest report. In contrast, labor market data worsened for the month, including hiring (down from 2.2 to -1.9) and the average workweek (down from 0.6 to -2.2). On the positive side, shipments (up from -2.1 to 9.6) picked up at a decent rate, expanding after three consecutive months of declines. Read More
Friday, the Department of Interior announced it would develop new guidelines for development of coal resources on federal lands. Included in the announcement was a moratorium on new leases of coal on these federal lands until a new environmental impact study is completed. These studies take years, and Secretary Sally Jewell said the moratorium on new leases will be in place until the study is complete.
“Manufacturers need reliable energy sources and a robust energy mix, and this new plan from the president erodes our energy future. As the leading industry in cutting climate-related emissions, we understand and face the challenge, but manufacturers need to remain competitive in today’s global economy. The American energy boom has been beneficial to manufacturers, but this action by the administration will diminish that advantage.” – Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers
As users of one-third of the nation’s energy, manufacturers need a robust energy strategy that looks at all forms of energy, conventional and unconventional, to ensure an affordable and reliable supply. A key to our increasing global competitiveness, in addition to continuing growth in productivity, is reliable and affordable energy. Coal still provides nearly 40 percent of our electricity and gives manufacturers an advantage in a local economy. Also concerning in this announcement is the failure to examine the costs to manufacturing and the millions of supply-chain jobs directly and indirectly impacted by such a sweeping action. Read More
While Manufacturers had a more positive month than expected, adding 8,000 jobs in December, 2015 will go down one of the softest years for employment growth in the sector since the Great Recession. All in, manufacturers added 30,000 workers on net in 2015, well below the 215,000 workers hired in 2014.
Nondurable goods employment increased by 14,000 workers in December, but total hiring in the manufacturing sector was pulled lower by a reduction of 6,000 employees from durable goods firms. The strongest gains in December were seen in the food manufacturing (up 3,500), miscellaneous durable goods (up 3,500), plastics and rubber products (up 3,300), chemicals (up 2,500) and furniture and related products (up 2,100) sectors. In contrast, machinery (down 6,300), transportation equipment (down 3,300, including a loss of 2,400 for motor vehicles and parts), primary metals (down 2,800) and fabricated metal products (down 1,500) each experienced significant declines for the month. Read More
ADP said that manufacturers added 2,000 workers on net in November, extending the 4,000 increase observed in December. That followed declines in five of the seven months prior to that, highlighting the softness of employment growth in the sector for the year as a whole. Indeed, hiring was essentially flat in 2015, easing sharply after adding 1.35 million workers in 2014. A strong dollar, weaknesses in the energy sector and sluggish export growth have combined to challenge manufacturers in the United States, with demand, production and hiring growth all dampened. Hopefully, we will begin to see a rebound in activity in 2016; although, expectations remain muted with lingering headwinds.
The Census Bureau said that private manufacturing spending fell 4.0 percent in November. The value of private construction put in place in the manufacturing sector declined from $87.04 billion at the annual rate in October to $83.59 billion in November. There has been a bit of volatility from month-to-month in this figure since reaching an all-time high in May of $89.65 billion. Nonetheless, the larger story has been an extremely positive one, with year-over-year growth of 28.8 percent, up from $64.91 billion in November 2014. Indeed, the current reading on manufacturing construction activity closely matches the 2015 year-to-date average of $83.46 billion, up from an average of $57.03 billion for all of 2014. Much of the recent growth in manufacturing construction has stemmed from investments made in the chemical sector, which continues to benefit from cost advantages in the energy sector. Read More
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) remained negative for the second straight month. The composite index fell from 48.6 in November to 48.2 in December, its lowest level since June 2009. As such, manufacturers reported soft demand and production activity at the end of 2015, which represented a sharp contrast to the modest growth seen 12 months prior to that. Indeed, the ISM Manufacturing PMI was 55.1 one year ago, and it peaked last year at 58.1 in August 2014. The sector has struggled with sluggish growth abroad and lower commodity prices over much of the past year, dampening overall manufacturing activity. Along those lines, new orders (up from 48.9 to 49.2) and production (up from 49.2 to 49.8) continued to indicate weaknesses in the sector, even as each recorded some easing in the pace of decline in December. To be fair, however, the sample comments also noted some segments that were doing well at year’s end, particularly those aligned with the automotive sector. Read More