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Economy

U.S. Trade Deficit Rose in October to Highest Point Since January

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The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit rose from $44.89 billion in September to $48.73 billion in October, its highest level since January. In the latest figures, the increase in the trade deficit stemmed mostly from a jump in goods imports (up from $195.88 billion to $199.40 billion), with goods exports (down from $130.64 billion to $130.32 billion) off slightly. On the positive side, goods exports remain not far from September’s figure, which was its best reading since December 2014. Beyond goods, service-sector exports (up from $65.29 billion to $65.59 billion) and imports (up from $44.93 billion to $45.24 billion) each rose to new all-time highs. Read More

New Factory Orders Edged Down 0.1 Percent in October, but Year-Over-Year Growth Remains Encouraging

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The Census Bureau said that new factory orders edged down 0.1 percent in October, easing off ever-so-slightly after jumping by 1.2 percent and 1.7 percent in both August and September, respectively. In October, nondurable goods orders were up by 0.7 percent, with new sales for durable goods off 0.8 percent. The decline for durable goods in October stemmed largely from significant declines in defense and nondefense aircraft and parts orders, which can often be highly volatile from month to month. (The November numbers should rebound strongly on healthy airplane demand at the Dubai Airshow.) Excluding transportation equipment, new orders were up 0.8 percent in October, rising for the fourth consecutive month.

Overall, new factory orders – which have struggled mightily over the past couple years – have largely trended in the right direction more recently, up nearly 3.7 percent since October 2016, or 6.8 percent with transportation equipment sales excluded.   Read More

How Scott Garrett’s Nomination to Lead the Ex-Im Bank Is Already Putting Taxpayers at Risk

By | Economy, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

 

We already knew confirming Scott Garrett to lead the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank would be a terrible trade deal for American manufacturing workers. But now we’re learning even before he has had his nomination voted on in committee, Garrett is already causing problems for the agency and potentially putting taxpayers on the hook, too. As The Wall Street Journal reports today:

C.J. Hall, the government agency’s acting chairman, who is stepping down Saturday, said in an interview that the bank will likely become a drain on U.S. taxpayers next year if the Senate doesn’t act to fill its board, because it has stopped bringing in enough revenue through the fees it charges to guarantee financing deals for U.S. exporters.

The negative fiscal impact of not having a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank is deeply concerning and underscores why the agency cannot be led by someone like Garrett, who spent years trying to shut the bank down. The Wall Street Journal report also notes that Garrett currently does not have the votes to advance his nomination. So here’s the bottom line: Garrett’s toxicity is holding the confirmation process up and literally exposing taxpayers to increased federal deficits.

Given this fiscal reality and the apparent lack of votes to get Garrett’s nomination out of committee, it’s time for a new nominee to lead the Ex-Im Bank who believes in the agency’s mission and can rightfully earn senators’ support.

We need to have a stable, fully functioning Ex-Im Bank and the jobs and revenue that come along with it. A fully functioning Ex-Im Bank is good for manufacturers, good for workers and good for American global competitiveness. When fully functional, the Ex-Im Bank is a model agency that actually returns a surplus to the U.S. Treasury. As The Wall Street Journal notes:

The bank’s revenue comes primarily from its largest deals. If no such new deals are approved, the bank likely won’t be able to cover all of its expenses. Without a quorum, taxpayers also could lose out on about $492 million in surplus funds the bank projected it would otherwise send to Treasury.

That’s why the National Association of Manufacturers has steadfastly opposed Garrett’s nomination from the start and has also supported the president’s other four nominations to the Ex-Im Bank, who share the administration’s vigorous and outspoken support of American manufacturing workers and the agency.

Click here to learn more about Garrett’s reckless opposition to the Ex-Im Bank that has put manufacturing jobs in America at risk.

Personal Spending Growth Was Modest in October, Extending the Robust Gain from September

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The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending rose modestly in October, up 0.3 percent. As such, the latest increase in personal consumption expenditures extended the robust 0.9 percent gain seen in September, which was the fastest monthly pace since August 2009. In October, the goods spending data were mixed, with nondurable goods purchases up by 0.2 percent but with durable goods outlays edging down by 0.1 percent. With that said, the longer-term picture remains favorable, as Americans have continued to spend at relatively healthy rates overall. Indeed, personal spending has increased 4.2 percent over the past 12 months, off slightly from 4.3 percent year-over-year in the previous release. In addition, goods spending for durable and nondurable goods were up 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent year-over-year, respectively.

Likewise, the savings rate has fallen from 4.1 percent in October 2016 to 3.2 percent in the current data, highlighting the degree to which Americans have become more willing to spend. At the same time, the savings rate did increase from 3.0 percent in September, largely on stronger income growth. Read More