From the Front Lines of Infrastructure Week

As Infrastructure Week enters its third year, the effort has grown and gone national, transforming from a handful of events planned by a small group of organizations into a nationwide initiative. This week, more than 80 affiliated organizations will host over 40 events from Alaska to Washington, DC. It is safe to declare that no infrastructure policy issue will be left unaddressed this week.

On Tuesday, the NAM joined legal reform expert Philip Howard and his non-profit Common Good, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the law firm Covington & Burling LLP for an expert-led discussion on Rethinking Infrastructure Approvals. (continue reading…)

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Major Manufacturing Industries Call for Quick Passage of TPA to Overcome the Status Quo Disadvantage

 Yesterday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) was joined by 75 industries representing the broad range of manufacturing throughout the United States, to urge passage of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. As the letter explains:

“At a time when global growth is slowing, manufacturing industries and their employees need the advantages that trade agreements provide now more than ever to compete successfully abroad. The U.S. market is largely open to the world, with the lowest tariffs on manufactured goods of any G20 country. Yet, these same manufacturers face steep trade barriers abroad. Without TPA, manufacturers in the United States risk being locked out and left behind as other countries negotiate dozens of trade agreements that exclude the United States and our nation’s manufacturers.” (continue reading…)

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JOLTS: Manufacturing Net Hiring Was Negative in Both February and March

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that net hiring in the manufacturing sector was negative in both February and March, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) release. This was the first declines in net hiring for the sector in nearly two years, a reflection of the recent headwinds seen in the economy so far this year.

Manufacturers hired 254,000 workers in April, down from 259,000 in March. At the same time, total separations – including layoffs, quits and retirements – were unchanged at 264,000. Therefore, net hiring (or hires minus separations) declined from -5,000 to -10,000. This represents a deterioration from the more-robust pace of net hiring growth seen in the second half of 2014, which averaged nearly 25,000 per month. Hopefully, we will see a rebound in net employment growth in the coming months. (continue reading…)

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NFIB: Small Business Optimism Ticked Somewhat Higher in April

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that optimism rose somewhat in April, rebounding from a much softer March. The Small Business Optimism Index increased from 95.2 in March to 96.9 in April, but remained below the recent peak observed in December (100.4). The December level was the highest since October 2006, but sentiment has been weaker since then as a number of economic headwinds have dampened both activity and the overall outlook to a certain extent. Indeed, this report reflects lingering anxieties about the economy, even as small business owners indicate that they are more upbeat today than they have been in past years. (continue reading…)

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From the Front Lines of Infrastructure Week

As the May 31st deadline for the current surface transportation authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) fast approaches, Congress appears poised to make a move that has become all too familiar in the transportation world – just extend it.

Today, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons helped kick-off Infrastructure Week here in Washington and highlighted the extension habit at a morning event hosted by Bloomberg Government featuring leading government, labor and business community leaders – Vice President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Siemens USA President and CEO Eric Spiegel and the Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Schnitzer Steel Industries President and CEO Tamara Lundgren.   (continue reading…)

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R&D Credit Keeps Manufacturing on the Cutting Edge

Manufacturers must invest in advanced technologies to stay competitive in a 21st century global economy. To be an innovator, manufacturers must hire engineers, scientists, and design teams who will create the next great technology that will make the company, and the economy, more productive. The research and development (R&D) tax credit contributes to this process by alleviating some of the cost of hiring such top-notch R&D teams and investing in the supplies needed to come up with the next big thing.  (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – May 11, 2015

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

Once again, there was evidence last week that significant headwinds have dampened activity in the manufacturing sector. The sector added just 1,000 net new workers in April, marking the third consecutive month with soft hiring. The data suggest that challenges from a strong dollar, slowing growth abroad, lower crude oil prices, residual effects from the West Coast ports slowdown, a cautious consumer and weather have combined to take their toll on the economy, at least for the time being. (continue reading…)

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BLS: Manufacturers Added 1,000 Workers in April

Manufacturers added 1,000 net new workers in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was an ever-so-slight improvement after being unchanged in March. Overall, though, it was the third consecutive month of hiring weakness in the manufacturing sector. There have been a number of significant headwinds buffeting the U.S. economy in the early months of 2015, including a strong dollar, slowing growth abroad, lower crude oil prices, residual effects from the West Coast ports slowdown, a cautious consumer and weather. Each of these challenges has dampened overall activity in the sector, including employment growth. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturers Are Ready for TSCA Reform

Today’s announcement that 36 bipartisan U.S. Senators have now joined the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is proof that compromise is still possible in the halls of the United States Congress and that Washington can still work for manufacturers and citizens across the country.

It’s past time for TSCA Reform, and this year—likely this summer—presents a far too infrequent opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation to vastly improve an outdated environmental statute. Manufacturers are ready for TSCA Reform.

We need a modern federal chemical regulatory system that fosters manufacturing innovation and future technological breakthroughs in areas like energy, sustainability, healthcare and countless others while ensuring the public and environment are protected. The bipartisan legislative proposals before both the Senate (the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act) and the House (the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015) would strengthen our federal chemical regulations while increasing regulatory certainty and removing barriers to economic growth. They would further protect the public while promoting investments, improving the flow of interstate commerce and appropriately protecting intellectual capital.

This is a win-win-win situation. A win for the public, who deserves safe and sustainable products that provide essential benefits to everyday life.  A win for manufacturers, the nation’s job creators, who will have greater regulatory certainty to continue making better products while growing the economy. And a win for our government who far too often is caught up in partisan politics at the expense of passing policies that will make life better in this country.

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Lower Cost, More Options and Better Information Top Healthcare Concerns

A new survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation was aimed at trying to get past the political wrangling over the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and see what the public is generally and genuinely concerned about when it comes to healthcare. The results very closely resemble the concerns of manufacturers around the country and hit upon the three main points the National Association of Manufacturers are focused on. Namely, lowering the cost of care, increasing options for coverage, and better information to make better decisions. (continue reading…)

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