Soft Real GDP Growth in the First Quarter

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the U.S. economy grew 0.7 percent at the annual rate in the first quarter, starting 2017 off on a soft start as expected. This follows real GDP growth of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Weaker consumer and inventory spending in the first quarter could explain the lower figures, with government spending also serving as a drag on the headline number.

To be fair, this is just the first estimate, so there is a chance that future revisions might show better growth, particularly if incoming data for March are better than expected. In addition, we traditionally have a sluggish first quarter followed by a strong rebound in the second quarter. My current forecast is for 2.8 percent growth in real GDP in the second quarter, with the economy expanding 2.1 percent for 2017 as a whole. Of course, these estimates might drift higher with passage of more pro-growth policies, especially in terms of the outlook later this year and into 2018.

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ShopTalk Podcast: President Trump’s 100 Days of Reg Reform

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, ShopTalk | No Comments

As manufacturers look to our nation’s leaders to rethink red tape and reduce the cost of doing business in America, regulations continue to be cited as a top issue. It has been over four decades since a President has addressed the regulatory burden in our country head-on and now as we reflect on the first 100 days of this new Administration, President Trump has presented a new and innovative approach to reducing regulations that has already begun to have a positive affect for manufacturers nationwide.

In the latest installment of our ShopTalk podcast, NAM SVP of Communications Erin Streeter sits down with NAM SVP of Policy Aric Newhouse and NAM VP of Labor, Legal and Regulatory Policy Rosario Palmieri to discuss the current regulatory playing field and what manufacturers can expect in the future.

Good News: Bipartisan Regulatory Reform Introduced in Senate

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

In the first 100 days of the Trump administration, manufacturers have seen many actions from President Trump to provide regulatory relief. Now, there’s good news coming from the Senate as well. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have released the Regulatory Accountability Act, which, in their words is “designed to make federal regulations smarter and more effective so they better support businesses, families, and jobs by modernizing the federal regulatory process that hasn’t been significantly reformed in 70 years.”  Read More

Small Texas-Based Boot Manufacturer Thinks Big

By | Shopfloor Main | No Comments

AUSTIN, Texas—In his 1,600-square-foot headquarters, which the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) visited during its 2017 State of Manufacturing Tour, Joshua Bingaman is a whirling dervish—designing, packaging and shipping upscale boots to as many as 150 customers per month. A former singer, shoe store owner and coffee shop proprietor, Bingaman is the founder of HELM Boots, a small but fast-growing company.

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NAM, UK Manufacturers Seek Greater Collaboration

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Today, Jay Timmons, President and CEO at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and Terry Scouler, CEO at EEF, the UK-based manufacturers’ organisation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to promote greater collaboration and partnerships between the two organizations, and to promote the NAM and EEF’s respective missions to strengthen and grow manufacturing in the United States and the UK. The agreement sets forth a number of activities, ranging from information exchanges on policy, economics, business trends and government regulations to potential joint work on international trade, skills development and other issues.

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What Do Women in Manufacturing Say?

By | General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Guest blog by Heidi Alderman, 2017 STEP Ahead Chairwoman and Senior Vice President, Intermediates North America, BASF Corporation

There is a place for us in manufacturing.

I have worked in the industry for more than 30 years and have seen an increasing number of women join the ranks. However, we still need more!

Manufacturers have difficulty recruiting women because many believe the jobs are physical, repetitive and boringbut none of this is true. Today’s manufacturing jobs are highly technical, well-paying and offer a variety of career options with bright futures.

Manufacturing allows women to use creativity to solve problems, contribute to society and connect with others. Women in manufacturing are given the chance to solve the world’s problems, something that not many can say of their jobs. My work gives me pride in knowing the difference BASF makes by creating chemistry that solves the world’s problems.

Growing up, I saw manufacturing become the backbone of the United States. I studied engineering in college because I excelled at math and science in high school. I didn’t quite know what engineering was, but as it turns out, I made the right choice.

For me, engineering isn’t just a job; it’s a mindset for solving problems, whether they are technical, commercial or life-related. I’ve had roles in research, manufacturing, purchasing, marketing and business management, and the work has always been challenging, exciting and fun. Science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) career fields require the unique skills that women bring to the workforcea focus not only on achieving results, but also compassion for people, the desire to positively impact culture and the ability to motivate employees.

Although women in manufacturing have come a long way,  I know we must work together to enhance the industry image and communicate the new opportunities in this age of change. Whether you’re interested in engineering, design or even marketing, there is a place for YOU in manufacturing.

 

President Trump Answers the Call from Manufacturers, Confirms Support for Ex-Im Bank

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

As exporters and lenders converged in Washington for the annual Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank conference last week, they heard a clear message from National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons.

“At a time when manufacturing has captured the imagination of our leaders and the American people, I know our policymakers are eager to implement a strategy that will make our companies as competitive as possible in every market. I see the Ex-Im Bank as a vital component of that strategy.” – NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons (April 6, 2017)

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Total Hires in Manufacturing in February Rose to Highest Level Since June 2008

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | One Comment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that total hires in manufacturing in February rose to the highest level since June 2008. The sector hired edged up from 304,000 in January to 305,000 in February. This represented notable progress from just 268,000 six months ago. With that said, the underlying data were mixed in February, with nondurable goods hiring up from 139,000 to 149,000 but hiring for durable goods firms down from 165,000 to 156,000. At the same time, total separations – which include quits, layoffs and retirements – decreased from 304,000 to 292,000. Separations were lower for both durable (down from 163,000 to 155,000) and nondurable (down from 141,000 to 137,000) goods manufacturers. Overall, net hiring (or hires minus separations) improved from zero in February to 13,000 in March, its fastest pace in seven months. Read More

Manufacturing Jobs Increase for Fourth Straight Month

By | Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

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

ISM: Manufacturing Activity Expanded Rather Strongly in March Despite a Slight Easing

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing PMI expanded rather strongly in March despite a slight easing in the pace from February’s 2½-year high reading. The composite index declined from 57.7 in February, its fastest rate since August 2014, to 57.2 in March. More importantly, it was the seventh straight monthly expansion in the headline number, recognizing definite progress after two years of notable challenges in the sector. Indeed, the sample comments tended to echo improvements in manufacturing activity, citing the better economic conditions and robust sales. This finding also mirrors the most recent NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which found confidence rising to its highest point in the survey’s nearly 20-year history. Read More