Senate, House MTB Letters Demonstrate Strong Bicameral, Bipartisan Support for New Process

As House and Senate discussions around the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644) continue, one emerging sticking point is whether to include in the final conference report a process that would allow for the elimination of longstanding distortions in the U.S. tariff code by temporarily eliminating taxes on imported products not available in the United States. (continue reading…)

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U.S. Trade Deficit Widened in June; Manufactured Goods Exports Down Year-to-Date

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the U.S. trade deficit widened somewhat in June. The trade deficit rose from $40.94 billion in May to $43.84 billion in June, its highest level in three months. This was largely the result of an increase in goods imports, up from $188.40 billion to $191.06 billion. Goods exports were marginally lower, down from $127.79 billion to $127.56 billion. With that said, despite shifts from month-to-month, the U.S. trade deficit has not changed much over the past year and a half. It averaged $42.62 billion in the first half of 2015, which is only slightly higher than the $42.36 billion average observed in all of 2014. (continue reading…)

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SEC Pay Ratio Rule Brings Millions in New Costs for Manufacturers

The SEC voted 3-2 today to finalize rules implementing the Dodd-Frank Act Section 953(b) requirement that public companies regularly disclose the ratio of employees’ median pay to the compensation of a company’s chief executive. While Commissioner Mary Jo White said that changes were made to the original rule that “should reduce costs for many companies while adhering to the statutory requirements,” the final “pay ratio” rule still creates significant compliance costs and burdens for manufacturers without any benefit for shareholders, as the SEC itself noted in the original proposal. (continue reading…)

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NAM Supports Senate Action on Cyber Bill

Technology and the deployment of it across the shopfloors and throughout the products of the manufacturing industry has raised cybersecurity to a C-suite priority. Manufacturers know that strong cybersecurity means strong economic security. The NAM has therefore joined more than 45 other industry groups calling for passage of S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Security Act (CISA) of 2015. (continue reading…)

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Pipelines Jump-start Growth

Infrastructure projects play an important role in getting our economy on track. Pipelines create jobs across the construction and manufacturing supply chain, enhance our nation’s energy security and create significant economic value. (continue reading…)

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Congress Needs to Keep Driving

The House of Representatives left Washington to begin its August recess in the middle of a critical Senate debate on a long-term transportation measure, the DRIVE Act. In spite of the House choosing not to wait around a little longer to take up the Senate bill which also included the much needed Export-Import bank reauthorization, the Senate still gave the legislation a strong bipartisan showing and passed H.R. 22 in a 65-34 vote. (continue reading…)

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Factory Orders Rose in June on Strong Aircraft Sales Growth

The Census Bureau said that new factory orders rose 1.8 percent in June, rebounding from declines in both April and May. Indeed, manufacturers’ new orders have decreased in 9 of the past 11 months, with a number of economic headwinds dampening overall demand. On a year-over-year basis, new orders have declined from $510.1 billion in June 2014 to $478.5 billion in this release, or a decrease of 6.2 percent. In June, the gain stemmed largely from strong aircraft sales growth, with transportation equipment sales up 9.3 percent following declines of 4.0 percent and 6.3 percent in April and May, respectively. Aircraft orders can be volatile from month to month, with sales often batched together around large trade shows, and this latest report reflects numbers from the Paris Air Show. If you were to exclude transportation, new factory orders would have risen by a more modest 0.5 percent. (continue reading…)

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Personal Spending Growth Eased Somewhat in June

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending increased by 0.2 percent in June, easing somewhat from the 0.7 percent growth rate observed in May. This was the slowest pace since February, but on the positive side, spending has now risen for five straight months. On a year-over-year basis, real personal consumption expenditures have risen 2.9 percent since June 2014, down from 3.4 percent in May. Through the first half of 2015, year-over-year growth in personal spending has averaged 3.2 percent, representing modest growth. Still, the June data were challenged by weaker-than-desired growth in goods spending, particularly for durable goods. (continue reading…)

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Taking the Guesswork Out of Hiring

As I travel the country, I hear from manufacturers the challenge they face in attracting and retaining talent. For many manufacturers, the skills gap is very real. It means passing up a major order because the skilled talent just isn’t there. The Manufacturing Institute’s own skills gap data, published with Deloitte, documents that over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely will need to be filled. The skills gap, however, is expected to leave 2 million of those jobs unfilled.

For decades, manufacturers have relied on strategies that include referrals and leveraging staffing agencies. To remain competitive, manufacturers must do more. They must deploy new strategies to attract, retain and grow the manufacturing workforce. (continue reading…)

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ISM: Manufacturing Sentiment Edged Lower, but Domestic Sales and Output Growth Ticked Higher

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) edged somewhat lower in July, bucking expectations for a slight gain. The headline PMI decreased from 53.5 in June to 52.7 in July. Yet, even with reduced sentiment for the month, the index averaged 53.0 over the past three months (May through July), up from 52.0 over the prior three months (February through April). While manufacturing activity has been weaker than what we saw at the end of last year – with the index averaging 56.9 in the fourth quarter of 2014 – these data continue to reflect a slight rebound in demand and output after softness earlier in the year. Along those lines, growth in both new orders (up from 56.0 to 56.5) and production (up from 54.0 to 56.0) ticked higher in July, expanding at a decent but still less-than-desired pace. (continue reading…)

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