This weekend, leaders at the G-20 endorsed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations that were released in October. The NAM continues to be concerned about the negative impact these proposals, if implemented, could have on manufacturers in the United States. (continue reading…)
Retail sales rose 0.1 percent in October, improving ever-so-slightly from being unchanged in both August and September. As such, this report continues to reflect anxieties among consumers, with some hesitance for them to open their pocketbooks on recent economic weaknesses. Indeed, retail spending has grown just 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, a modest but less-than-ideal pace. (continue reading…)
While 83 percent of manufacturing employees and a majority of all private-sector employees have access to a retirement plan through work, some states are pushing legislation to increase access to retirement plans through new state-run programs. The lawmakers supporting these plans want to increase retirement security, but in reality, some of these new programs create more questions for manufacturers than answers. (continue reading…)
NAM Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Dorothy Coleman today joined U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and a panel of experts, including representatives from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to discuss key international tax issues, including the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project recommendations recently released by the OECD. (continue reading…)
Last week, the NAM called on incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) to begin working immediately on tax extenders upon taking over the committee gavel. In a positive sign to the business community that he’s heard our call, Chairman Brady has been signaling positive steps forward on extenders, many of which he would like to see made permanent. (continue reading…)
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that optimism was unchanged in October. The Small Business Optimism Index remained at 96.1 in October, representing some progress since the 94.1 reading observed in June. Coincidently, the index was 96.1 in October 2014, as well. Overall, it is also clear that small business owners remain anxious about the economy, with index values under 100 typically coinciding with softer economic growth. With that said, there were also positive developments for the month. For instance, the percentage of respondents saying that the next three months were a “good time to expand” increased from 12 percent to 13 percent, its highest level since February. This figure has trended higher over the past year, averaging 9.8 for all of 2014 and 11.6 year-to-date for 2015. Meanwhile, the percent planning capital expenditures over the next three to six months rose from 25 percent to 26 percent. (continue reading…)
Last Friday, President Obama announced his decision to deny TransCanada Corporation its permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline.
Not only did the President disappoint manufacturers across the country, but he also made a historic mistake. After seven years of waiting for a decision on this permit application, this decision is a clear signal that the United States isn’t open for business for everyone. It also undermines the existing permitting process—one that is supposed to set clear rules of the road for companies to meet to secure approval. The Administration continually raised the bar for approval of Keystone XL, and every time TransCanada met (or exceeded) it, the Administration raised it again. (continue reading…)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that nonfarm payrolls increased by a surprisingly strong 271,000 workers in October. This was well above the consensus estimate of around 180,000, and it suggests that hiring has begun to rebound again after a lull in August (153,000) and September (137,000). Even with some progress this month, it is worth noting that nonfarm payroll growth has averaged 206,200 per month year-to-date, down from 280,833 per month in the second half of last year. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 5.0 percent, which was the lowest level seen since April 2008. Moreover, the so-called “real” unemployment rate – which includes marginally attached workers by those employed part-time for economic reasons – was 9.8 percent, the first time this rate has fallen below 10 percent since May 2008. It peaked at 17.1 percent six years ago.
The overall strength in this report should serve to enhance the chances that the Federal Reserve will begin to raise short-term interest rates at its December meeting, which was already becoming the conventional wisdom. (continue reading…)
Hours ago, the White House released the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement that has been negotiated for more than five years and would seek to join the United States with 11 trading partners across the Asia-Pacific in the largest and most complex plurilateral free trade agreement negotiated by the United States. (continue reading…)
Today’s announcement that Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) will take the gavel as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee may bode well for manufacturers in terms of securing an extension of a package of important tax provisions that expired at the end of 2014, known as “tax extenders.” That’s because Chairman Brady is the sponsor of legislation approved by the House to not only extend the research and development (R&D) tax credit, but also enhance the provision and make it permanent once and for all. (continue reading…)