Expanding America’s Global Opportunities – Hannover Messe 2016

This evening, business leaders and policymakers will attend the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) naming the United States as the Hannover Messe partner country for 2016. Hannover Messe is the world’s largest industrial trade fair, held annually in Hanover, Germany. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturers IoT Innovations Showcased on Capitol Hill

The United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade hosted an Internet of Things showcase on Capitol Hill today. The showcase was followed by a hearing in the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee called “The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier.” NAM members companies Toyota, BigAssSolutions and Corning were front and center at both events sharing with Members of Congress and the general public the transformative impact the IoT will have on our industry.

Big Ass Solutions was one of the demonstrators that brought their technology in from Kentucky to share with lawmakers how the IoT is driving solutions for their customers – and saving them money on their utility bills. ABB shared with Members of Congress its Asset Health Center which allows utilities to leverage new smart grid technology investments. Toyota highlighted the features of its Lexus Enform connected services which enhance the driver experience with new navigation, safety, and maintenance features. Fiber optic manufacturer Corning, Inc. displayed how their latest technology is connecting the IoT and helping to  deliver big data to every corner of the manufacturing supply chain. (continue reading…)

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Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Contracted in March

The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity contracted in March, declining for the first time in 12 months. The composite index of general business conditions decreased from zero in February to -8 in March. The underlying data were lower across-the-board, reflecting weaknesses for the month in terms of overall activity and a deterioration from February’s numbers. This included new orders (down from -2 to -13), shipments (down from -1 to -13), capacity utilization (down from -4 to -7) and the average workweek (up from -6 to -4). As such, manufacturers clearly pulled back in a number of areas for the month, likely due to global slowness, a stronger dollar and reduced commodity prices. On the positive side, hiring (up from 4 to 6) continued to grow modestly, providing some encouragement moving forward. (continue reading…)

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Blunt-Thune Carbon Tax Amendment Reminder of Potential Negative Impacts of a Carbon Tax

As part of the Senate’s consideration of the FY 2016 budget, Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John Thune (R-SD) will offer an amendment opposing the future leveling of a carbon tax on U.S. manufacturers and businesses. The NAM has long warned of the potential negative impacts of an ill-conceived carbon tax program, particularly as other major emitting nations do not face similar cost burdens. Unilateral regulations or additional costs to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will only hurt U.S. manufacturers while accomplishing little, if anything, in the way of global emission reductions.

In 2013, the NAM released an economic study conducted by nonpartisan NERA Economic Consulting, looking at two carbon tax scenarios: one levied at $20 per ton increasing at 4 percent, and the other designed to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80 percent—an emission reduction level targeted in past legislative proposals. NERA found that any revenue raised by a carbon tax would be far outweighed by the negative impacts to the overall economy. (continue reading…)

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Consumer Prices Rose for the First Time in Four Months in February

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the consumer price index (CPI) rose for the first time in four months, up 0.2 percent in February. This was largely due to higher gasoline prices, which increased 2.4 percent in February. To be fair, the price of regular gasoline remains 33.5 percent lower today than it was 12 months ago. Indeed, the average price of regular gasoline declined from $3.639 a gallon on June 23 to $1.982 a gallon on January 26, according to the Energy Information Administration. It then rose to $2.256 per gallon on February 23, and has since edged up to $2.347 this week. (continue reading…)

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Markit: Chinese Manufacturing Activity Declined Again

The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI reflected reduced activity again, down from 50.7 in February to 49.2 in March. It has contracted in three of the past four months now, reflecting a decelerated rate of growth in China. China has reduced its target real GDP growth rate for 2015 to 7 percent. New orders (down from 50.4 to 49.3), exports (up from 47.1 to 49.0) and employment (down from 49.3 to 47.0) were all below 50 in March – the threshold signifying growth. It was the reduction in demand that pushed the headline index lower. On the positive side, output (unchanged at 50.8) continues to expand very modestly for the month, and the decrease in input prices (up from 42.2 to 44.7) have helped manufacturers in terms of costs, even as the rate of decline was less in March. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – March 23, 2015

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

The U.S. economy has sputtered a bit in the early months of 2015. While it continues to grow modestly, several economic indicators are weaker than we would prefer. For example, manufacturing production decreased by 0.2 percent in February, declining for the third straight month. Many headwinds have combined to bring about this softness in the manufacturing sector, including global economic weakness, a strong U.S. dollar, the West Coast ports slowdown, a cautious consumer and the weather in some parts of the country. (continue reading…)

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Local Governments Weigh In on Proposed Ozone Standards

The outcry over the EPA’s proposed ground-level ozone standards continues with representatives of the nation’s mayors, counties, cities and regions adding their voices to the debate in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy this week.

In the letter dated March 17, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, and National Association of Regional Councils, detail the impact the most expensive rule in U.S. history will have on local governments.  These four organizations collectively represent 19,000 cites and mayors, 3,069 counties and over 500 regional councils. (continue reading…)

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Leading Economic Indicators Reflect Modest Growth in February

The Conference Board said that the Leading Economic Index (LEI) rose 0.2 percent in February, the same pace as observed in January. However, this was slower than the stronger rate of growth experienced just four months ago, when the LEI increased by 0.6 percent in October. Weaknesses abroad, a stronger U.S. dollar, weather and factors have been headwinds on the U.S. economy, which continues to expand modestly but at a slower rate. This can be seen in the latest industrial production, housing starts and retail sales figures, for instance. Specific to the LEI, new orders have decelerated, providing a bit of a drag on the headline number. Other challenges included the average workweek and initial unemployment claims.    (continue reading…)

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Philly Fed: Modest Manufacturing Growth in the District in March

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that manufacturing activity has expanding modestly in March. The composite index of general business activity edged marginally lower, down from 5.2 in February to 5.0 in March. Overall activity has been softer-than-desired in the first three months of 2015, averaging just 5.5; whereas, the composite index had averaged a more robust 18.6 for 2014 as a whole. Nonetheless, the Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey has now expanded for 13 straight months, and business leaders in the district remain relatively optimistic about the coming months. (continue reading…)

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