According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in May was disappointing. The U.S. economy added just 138,000 net new workers in May, below the consensus estimate of 185,000 and even further from the 253,000 estimate provided by ADP yesterday. In addition, there were downward revisions to the March and April data, subtracting a total of 66,000 from those months in job gains. There were fewer Americans employed overall, down from 153.2 million in April to 152.9, a three-month low. As a result, the participation rate dropped from 62.9 percent to 62.7 percent, its lowest level since June 2016. With that in mind, we saw the unemployment rate fall once again, down from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent, a 10-year low. Likewise, the so-called “real” unemployment rate declined from 8.6 percent to 8.4 percent, a level not seen since November 2007.
Meanwhile, manufacturers were hoping to have a sixth straight month of job gains, much as we saw in the ADP data. Instead, manufacturing employment was off by 1,000 workers in May. On the positive side, revisions to March and April data added another 3,000 employees to what was previously estimated. Overall, manufacturing employment has averaged 12,167 per month since December, which stands in sharp contrast to the loss of 16,000 workers on net seen in 2016 as a whole. As such, even with the slight decline in May employment for the sector, the general trend for manufacturing employment over the past six months has been favorable. We have seen higher expectations for job growth of late in light of a stronger outlook for demand and production. Read More
From the crossroads of America, Indiana Ports and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) hosted an important session with manufacturers, truckers, engineering firms and thought leaders as well as state and local officials about maximizing infrastructure investments and strategically positioning and advocating infrastructure in ongoing national debates.
Indiana is a top manufacturing state in the nation representing the highest manufacturing employment in the United States—17 percent of the Hoosier workforce. With manufacturing well represented in Indiana’s economic footprint, investment in roads, rails, Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan and two inland ports on the Ohio River could not be more important. Fifty-seven percent of the state’s border is water.
Due to complex supply chains of manufacturers and just-in-time inventory principles, leading manufacturers like ArcelorMittal and Subaru of Indiana need Indiana infrastructure to perform and to perform second to none. The good news is that the state has made significant investments, raised revenues and supported projects that the business community needs to keep competitive. It has a vibrant supply of rail, trucking and waterway services. But these sectors do not operate in isolation.
The challenge, however, remains projects of regional and national significance that make a system-wide impact on the movement of critical materials and goods throughout the country and world. In Indianapolis, roundtable participants raised the genuine concern about the long-term condition of the Soo Lock System and especially the Poe Lock in Michigan. The current Poe Lock was built in 1969 and is at risk of failure. It handles more than 90 percent of U.S.-flag vessel cargo passing between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes, including more than 40 million tons of iron ore and coal destined for steel mills.
The status quo of the Poe Lock and the aging locks on the inland waterway system is a threat to manufacturing because a catastrophic failure will harm the economy and jobs. According to a 2015 U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, an unanticipated six-month closure of the Poe Lock would likely result in widespread bankruptcies and dislocations throughout the economy. More than 10 million people in the United States and 2 million to 5 million more in Canada and Mexico would lose their jobs. North American economies would enter a severe recession. The U.S. recession impacts would be concentrated in the Great Lakes region, though California and Texas would experience some of the largest job losses. Entire manufacturing industries would be debilitated, including automobiles; appliances; construction, farming and mining equipment; and railcars and locomotives.
Indiana and others states are competing against industrial behemoths like China, Japan and Germany. Competition between states will always be around, but the focus on edging out the international competition is even more acute. These competitors do not even think twice about robustly investing in infrastructure to support industry. Productivity growth in the United States is central to expanding the U.S. economy, and while it’s bigger than one industry or one state, more efficient transportation and infrastructure systems are necessary to create an environment that fosters increased productivity. The Infrastructure Week message to the president, House of Representatives and the Senate: #TimeToBuild is vital now. The NAM has produced an infrastructure toolkit to provide manufacturers the resources to amplify this Infrastructure Week message.
Timmons: March Jobs Numbers Continue Encouraging Trend
Washington, D.C., April 7, 2017 – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the release of the March jobs numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today:
“As manufacturing leaders discussed with President Donald Trump at the White House last week, manufacturers’ economic optimism is at a record 20-year high. Today’s numbers continue the four-month trend of increasing job growth, which manufacturers have not seen in some time.
“President Trump’s actions have certainly boosted manufacturers’ confidence in the future, and that positive change is coming. The president is rethinking red tape and addressing our regulatory burden, helping us to create American jobs and grow our economy. But we are still far from reaching our full potential. An outdated tax code, crumbling infrastructure and excessive regulations make it unnecessarily difficult to compete and win against overseas competitors.
“Manufacturers expect to see action on bold solutions for regulatory reform, infrastructure investment and tax reform, among other issues. We have shared our proposed path forward with the president and Congress and look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure manufacturing’s best days are still ahead.”
Read more about the NAM’s visit with President Trump last week here.
Media Contact: Jennifer Drogus, (202) 637-3090
A recent study released by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) examined how new technology has impacted the surge of natural gas production in the United States and made U.S. manufacturing more competitive in the global marketplace. It’s great news that abundant energy resources are energizing American manufacturing. But if we don’t modernize our energy infrastructure to fully connect these resources to manufacturers, we will fall short of our full economic potential.
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July jobs numbers:
“While numbers continue to improve, the fact is that our economy remains nowhere near its full potential. To grow jobs in America, manufacturers need their products sold to more markets. Isolationist rhetoric will not help grow manufacturing jobs in the United States, but the right policies will. Manufacturers have outlined an agenda that will help put our sector—and ultimately the entire U.S. economy—on a path toward continued growth and good-paying jobs, which includes market-opening free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“Whether it’s because of misguided analysis or political expediency, both major party candidates in this presidential election continue to do manufacturing a disservice by perpetuating myths about free trade. It’s time to stop undermining the ability of manufacturers in the United States to compete and win through trade and embrace policies like TPP that are going to put our nation back in the driver’s seat and ensure success for our economy.”
Yesterday’s vote by 52 percent of the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union—the so-called British exit (Brexit)—has sent shockwaves across global financial markets and plunged manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic into a long period of uncertainty. While there are no direct immediate consequences for the day-to-day operations of businesses in the United Kingdom, European Union or the United States, all businesses engaged in the transatlantic market need to start preparing for the changes that will in fact come. Read More
It is clear hiring remains weak for manufacturers as they grapple with global headwinds and lingering anxieties about the overall economic outlook. Employment in our sector declined by 29,000 in March. That said, we have begun to see some signs of stabilization for demand and production in other manufacturing data—but that has not translated into jobs just yet, according to today’s release. Meanwhile, nonfarm payrolls continued to make slow-but-steady gains, with growth near consensus estimates.
For the Federal Reserve, this report does not change much, as short-term rates were not likely to be increased at the upcoming meeting in April anyway. Instead, the Federal Open Market Committee will be looking for broader-based improvements in the U.S. economy as it prepares for its June meeting, and for manufacturers, we would hope that such data would include progress in the industrial sector. Manufacturers have been nervous about the Federal Open Market Committee raising rates too quickly, as they reported in the most recent NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey.
Sluggish hiring for manufacturers should also force our political leaders to consider pro-growth policies to improve overall economic conditions and to allow our businesses to better compete in the global marketplace. The NAM has outlined its pro-manufacturing policy agenda in its “Competing to Win” document, which was released earlier this year.
A State of Manufacturing Tour guest blog post by Jim Roche, president of the Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide Chamber of Commerce
Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) kicked off its 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour in New Hampshire—and with good reason! New Hampshire is a hotbed of innovative manufacturing and home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary less than two weeks from now.
Here at the Business & Industry Association (BIA) of New Hampshire, the NAM’s official affiliate in the Granite State, we fight every day for policies that support our manufacturers—our state’s most important job creators. We push state legislators, the governor, our congressional delegation and regulators for public policy and commonsense solutions that are friendly to job creators and promote prosperity for New Hampshire businesses.
At today’s stop, the NAM laid out several key public policies that will help put manufacturing in America on solid ground, including important ideas like fixing our outdated tax code and upgrading old infrastructure to take us toward a more modern economy.
Today’s tour also highlighted the many ways manufacturers are changing our lives for the better. Manufacturing has grown well beyond the outdated images of mill and textile work, particularly in New England. Today, manufacturing leads in electronics, fabricated metals, machinery and technology. And manufacturing is connecting people across continents. The sector offers outstanding jobs and careers for nearly 68,000 New Hampshire workers. New Hampshire’s manufacturers export almost $4 billion of goods around the world every year, bringing new wealth and economic activity into our state’s economy.
As we move deeper into this important election season, manufacturing voters are asking candidates hard questions about how they will help America compete to win in a global economy. No matter the outcome of the election, we need policies that support today’s diverse and dynamic manufacturers. When manufacturing succeeds, we’re all better off.