FACT CHECK: EPA’s Legal Footing

“I would not recommend, and I am confident that the Administrator would not sign, a final rule that the EPA did not believe was on firm legal footing and worthy of being upheld by the federal courts. In light of that, the effect of the draft bill would be a wholly unnecessary postponement of reductions of harmful air pollution,” said Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) Acting Air Chief Janet McCabe.

The statement above was given in a congressional hearing, while under oath to members of Congress who were debating draft legislation that would restore some regulatory certainty for businesses and state governments by delaying implementation of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation for the existing power sector until after the inevitable legal challenges are resolved. (continue reading…)

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Retail Sales Rebounded Somewhat in March

The Census Bureau said that retail sales rebounded in March after declining in each of the previous 3 months. Retail spending rose 0.9 percent in March, with strong growth in motor vehicle and parts sales (up 2.7 percent) helping to lift the overall figure. Excluding motor vehicle and parts, retail sales were up 0.4 percent, still a modest growth rate. (continue reading…)

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NFIB: Small Business Optimism Dipped in March

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that small business owners were less confident in March. The Small Business Optimism Index dropped from 98.0 in February to 95.2 in March, its lowest level in 9 months. As such, it continues a trend of weaker survey responses so far in 2015, with the headline index down from 100.4 in December, its highest point since October 2006. To be fair, small businesses remain more upbeat today than one year ago (93.4 in March 2014), but growth has clearly slowed in the past three months due to economic headwinds seen in other reports, as well. (continue reading…)

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Dear India: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Every year, the city of Hannover, Germany, hosts the world’s largest industrial trade fair—the Hannover Messe—which increasingly highlights the most important advancements in manufacturing technologies. Next year, the United States will be the official partner country, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is very excited that manufacturers in the United States will have a special showcase for their innovations and best-in-class manufacturing solutions. (continue reading…)

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You have been AMBUSHED – by the NLRB

Despite our best efforts and after a four year battle, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)’s “Ambush Election” rule will go into effect today, Tuesday, April 14th.

This rule shortens the time frame before a union election robbing employees of the ability to gather the facts they need to make an informed decision and infringes in employee privacy requiring them to supply home addresses, telephone numbers, emails, work locations, shifts and job classifications. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – April 13, 2015

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

After a slew of releases the week before, last week was a quiet one on the economic front. This brief pause allowed us to absorb the data that we have before moving forward. Manufacturers have needed to reconcile the weaker-than-desired market in the first quarter of 2015 with a still-upbeat sales, output and labor market outlook for the coming months. This is true even with significant headwinds, including a stronger U.S. dollar, which should continue at least for the rest of this year. The Federal Reserve has equally had to deal with these changing dynamics, particularly grappling with when to begin normalizing short-term interest rates later this year. (continue reading…)

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Another Sign of Our Broken Immigration System

With only four working days since the H-1B application process opened on  April 1,  the number of applications for H-1B visas has already far exceeded the annual visas limitations. On Tuesday April 7, USCIS stated they are no longer accepting applications and  “Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process.” Which means they received so many that they are still counting them. The limit is  – again -  exceeded before one week had passed. (continue reading…)

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Death and Taxes – Estate Tax Repeal Introduced in Senate

While death and taxes are two facts of modern life, death by taxes may soon be less of a worry for small and medium-sized family-owned manufacturers. During last week’s budget “Vote-a-rama,” where hundreds of amendments were offered and considered, Senator John Thune (R-SD) proposed S. AMDT. 607 to reintroduce his plan to repeal the “death tax.” This macabre term is given to the burdensome estate tax on an owner’s right to transfer property at his/her death. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturers Like Caterpillar Leading the Way in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Lost in most of the policy discussions about greenhouse gases (GHG) in Washington, is the fact that the U.S. manufacturers are already leading the world in reducing emissions. Through manufacturing ingenuity and a commitment to environmental stewardship, manufacturers have reduced their annual carbon dioxide emissions by over 10 percent from 2005 levels. Manufacturers have also been integral in helping lower the United States’ total annual carbon emissions by nearly 700 million tons over the same time period–more than any other country in the world. (continue reading…)

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H-1B Filing Deadline is no Joke

Today is the day that – every year –  employers can begin to file applications for H-1B visas. Today is also the day that – every year – enough applications will be filed to exceed that cap; applications filed will likely more than double the 85,000 annual limit to H-1Bs issues each year, clearly proving this is an arbitrary number that is completely unresponsive to employer demand.

In a recent study by the Manufacturing Institute 66 percent of manufacturing executives said that when looking for engineers, researcher and scientists “finding candidates to enter the initial screening process” was by far the largest challenge they faced – more than “Offering compensation that appeals to qualified applicants” or “Making position requirements appeal to qualified talent.” Meaning that it is easier to create a positive work environment and provide a competitive salary, than it is to actually find someone to apply at all. (continue reading…)

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