The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that real GDP grew an annualized 3.5 percent in the third quarter, slightly higher than my forecast of 3.25 percent. This followed a decline of 2.1 percent in real GDP in the first quarter and a gain of 4.6 percent in the second quarter. As such, the U.S. economy grew a frustratingly slow 1.2 percent at the annual rate in the first half of 2014, which was a major disappointment. Still, consumer and business spending strengthened in the second quarter, and we continued to see gains in these areas in the third quarter, albeit with some easing in the pace of growth. In addition, after seeing net exports serve as a drag toward growth in the first half of the year, they were a positive contributor this time around, which was encouraging. (continue reading…)
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has decided to end its quantitative easing (QE) program, which means that it will cease its purchases of long-term and mortgage backed securities. This move was expected, as it was largely telegraphed over the summer, and the Fed has continued slowing its purchases since tapering began in December 2013. It also noted its intentions to end QE when outlining its framework towards normalizing monetary policies last month. (continue reading…)
The research and experimentation tax credit — aka the R&D tax credit — is intended to be an incentive for companies to invest in critical domestic R&D, which creates high-wage jobs here in the U.S. and leads to the innovative products and new technologies that are so important to our economy. Unfortunately, it’s been almost a year since the R&D credit expired, increasing costs and creating uncertainty for thousands of manufacturers conducting R&D. (continue reading…)
Since Indian Prime Minister Modi took office in May, he has encouraged investor optimism at home and abroad by vowing to open greater opportunities to trade with and manufacture in India. The Prime Minister has outlined several bold pro-growth economic reforms, including a promising “Digital India” initiative, and recently met with President Obama on enhancing trade and investment ties.
Unfortunately, Modi’s pro-growth messages have yet to be translated into concrete actions in the telecommunications sector. (continue reading…)
The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity continued to expand at its fastest pace since December 2010. The composite index of general business conditions rose from 14 in September to 20 in October. It was the seventh consecutive monthly expansion since the winter-related contractions in both February and March. Indeed, much like other regional surveys, these data show an uptick in demand and production for manufacturers recently, with a mostly upbeat assessment for the coming months.
Looking specifically at current activity, manufacturing leaders in the Richmond Fed district noted sharply higher paces for new orders (up from 14 to 22) and shipments (up from 11 to 23). (continue reading…)
The Census Bureau said that new durable goods orders were surprisingly soft in September, decreasing 1.3 percent. To be fair, much of that decline stemmed from lower defense and nondefense aircraft sales – a highly volatile segment of the market were orders are often quite choppy. Excluding transportation, new durable goods orders were off 0.2 percent, which was somewhat more favorable, even as it continued to reflect weakness. It is perhaps worth noting that retail sales were also lower in September, with consumer spending quite cautious overall. Therefore, this latest report would be somewhat consistent with that finding. (continue reading…)
Today, manufacturing thought-leaders, including many NAM-member company CEOs, delivered the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 report to the Obama Administration. The report includes recommendations that recognize the importance of advanced technology to manufacturing products and processes as well as the necessity of a skilled workforce to sustain the manufacturing comeback. (continue reading…)
As the election grows nearer and nearer, the issues facing manufacturers – and the American economy – continue to grow in importance. This week, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to discuss with local manufacturing leaders the question of what’s at stake in the upcoming midterm elections, and to consider the role of the Tar Heel State in our nation’s ongoing manufacturing comeback. (continue reading…)
Last week the American Chemistry Council (ACC) released a new interactive map and analysis showing that over one hundred billion dollars of investments in new manufacturing plants and other expansions could be at risk because of new ozone regulations. (continue reading…)