Innovation: Future of Cooking is First Project at GE’s New Micro-Factroy

The new “FirstBuild “micro-factory at the University of Louisville will focus on the future of cooking as its first set of projects. It will provide a platform for innovators to prototype and refine existing GE products, as well as create new designs.

It’s part of a broader GE initiative to crowd source ideas and solutions through the Internet and social networks, rather than rely solely on its staff of engineers.

“This new model will enable us to be more creative in the design and delivery of the products and do so with lower risk and cost while drastically reducing the time from mind to market,” Kevin Nolan, GE Appliances vice president of technology, said in the release.

Join Us: 7th Annual Manufacturing Days in Albany, March 17th – 18th

The Manufacturers Alliance of New York invites all manufacturers to come to Albany for its seventh annual Manufacturing Days, March 17 & 18, 2014. Manufacturing Day will allow our economic sector the opportunity to rally together and relay to Albany our legislative agenda for the upcoming session. The first day will consist of afternoon briefings, guest speakers, and a legislative reception. The second day will consist of a continental breakfast and lobby visits.

robertward_speakEven if you have never visited your legislator before in Albany, it is important to be involved. The voice of manufacturers needs to be heard in Albany and our elected officials need to know that manufacturing is still the engine that drives New York’s economy, and that they should want you to be successful. There is no doubt that other groups will spend a lot of time and resources presenting their case in Albany this year. Don’t miss your chance to present your issues!

The registration fee is $100 per attendee and includes all meals and materials

Sponsorship Opportunities Available

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman releases discussion draft on comprehensive tax reform

Comprehensive reform carries with it serious effects on our economy, along with the potential to unleash significant growth if done well. Federal tax revenues account for nearly one-fifth of GDP, and any change needs to be looked at very carefully.

Council Members have consistently placed tax reform and simplification at the top of their list of things the federal government can do to help their businesses.  House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-MI) release today of a discussion draft on comprehensive tax reform is a great starting point and we hope the Congress and the Administration can work together to move reform forward.

More is here.

 

 

U.S. productivity rises faster than expected in fourth quarter

U.S. nonfarm productivity rose more than expected in the fourth quarter, mirroring the economy’s sturdy growth pace, but weak unit labor costs pointed to subdued wage inflation.

Productivity rose at a 3.2 percent annual rate after increasing at a 3.6 percent pace in the third quarter, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, rising at a 2.5 percent rate in the last three months of 2013.

 

Bloomberg covers the story here:

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Manufacturing Sector Grows At Fastest Pace In More Than Two Years.

Good News!  Manufacturing continued to expand in November, reaching its highest level of the year, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly manufacturing index released today.

The PMI grew to 57.3% in November from 56.4% in October, ISM reported. Showing strong growth were both the new orders index, up 3 points to 63.6%, and the production index, up 2 percentage points to 62.8%. The employment index also rose, up to 56.5%, an increase of 3.3 percentage points and the highest reading since April 2012. A reading of greater than 50 indicates growth.

The Business Journal’s Kent Hoover has a nice story 

NAM Economist Chad Moutray commented on the Shop Floor Blog “the overriding theme in this report is the strong increases in manufacturing orders and production over the past few months. It will be important for policymakers to keep the momentum going by moving on from fiscal tensions and considering pro-growth measures that will allow the sector to flourish moving forward.”

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November Empire State Manufacturing Survey Released

The New York Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity declined in November, the first contraction since May. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s composite index shifted from very slight growth (1.5) in October to a small net decrease (-2.2) in November. Indeed, overall sentiment has pulled back each month since peaking at 9.5 in July.

The underlying data were lower across-the-board. The index of new orders fell from 7.8 to -5.5. The percentage of respondents suggesting that their sales had increased over the past month declined from 29.6 percent to 22.5 percent, with nearly half of those taking the survey in each month saying that their orders were the same. Shipments (down from 13.1 to -0.5) and the average employee workweek (down from 3.6 to -5.3) followed suit. Meanwhile, net hiring ground to a halt (down from 3.6 to zero), with 73.7 percent of respondents noting no change in employment in November.

Despite the current weaknesses, manufacturers are mostly positive about the next six months, with the forward-looking composite index decreased only barely from 40.8 to 37.5. More importantly, just over half of survey takers anticipate higher new orders and shipments in the coming months, and other data reflect cautious optimism, as well.

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Manufacturing Survey: Uncertainty Over Government Policy Holding Back Growth

The NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers for the third quarter of 2013 shows that concerns over rising health care costs, our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges and increasing regulatory burdens continue to hold back robust growth for manufacturers.

Small, medium and large manufacturers all noted the uncertainties surrounding implementation of the Affordable Care Act as a top concern, and many are still unaware of their premium costs for next year. Fixing the long-term federal debt ranks as the top policy fix manufacturers would like to see from Washington.

“Manufacturing leaders continue to worry about the long-term challenges confronting the nation, particularly on fiscal and monetary matters,” commented NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “These uncertainties, combined with Washington’s current regulatory agenda, continue to hold back robust growth in the sector.”

Read More »

Conditions for New York Manufacturers Slumped Slightly in August.

The New York Federal Reserve’s index of manufacturing conditions deteriorated unexpectedly in August, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its general business conditions index fell to 8.2 in August from a reading of 9.5 in July.  Analysts had expected the index to rise to 10.0 in August. On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions.

Read More »

Bill Clinton Articulates the Importance of Manufactuirng

In a Bloomberg Businessweek interview former President Bill Clinton did an excellent job articulating the importance of advanced manufacturing to our economy.  ”It accounts for over 80 percent of our exports and 90 percent of our patents and R&D spending.”  He added “Every new manufacturing job creates an additional 4.6 jobs to support it. For high-tech manufacturing jobs, the multiplier effect rises to 16 additional jobs.” And “Our nation’s 300,000 small and medium-size manufacturers, meanwhile, account for more than 50 percent of America’s total manufacturing employment and serve as a major source of technological innovations.”Former U.S. President Clinton stands in front of the logo of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 prior to a meeting with Malawi President Banda in New York

He also did a great job identifying some of the challenges the sector faces… “today just 7.1 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the U.S. go to engineering majors, compared with 18.4 percent internationally.”  And “The U.S. also needs to finance and support entrepreneurs to deliver new products in key sectors..”

Now through the former president’s “Clinton Global Initiative” along with the new nonprofit Made in America Organization, together with seed support from the Stiefel Family Foundation, will launch a pilot program to identify, support, and scale 10 start up companies in advanced manufacturing industries.”

That sounds like one small but solid step toward real progress.

2.3% Can Add Up – One Billion Dollars and Counting

The Affordable Care Act remains controversial as we approach the October 1st launch of the state exchanges.  Leaving aside (for the time being anyway) the employer mandate and the individual mandate one of the law’s least popular provisions reached a rather dubious milestone earlier this week. The excise tax collected by the IRS on medical devices surpassed the $1 billion mark.

The 2.3% tax went into effect on January 1, 2013.

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The National Association of Manufacturing’s Emily Sternfeld, writing on the “Shopfloor” Blog points out: “The money thats going to taxes is money medical device manufacturers would have used to invest in R&D, their facilities and most of all – new jobs.”  She also points out that “this tax is not only a threat to innovation but also to the United States’ position as the global industry leader in medical devices.”

To remedy this situation the NAM is supporting the “The Protect Medication Innovation Act” legislation in the House, which currently has 253 co-sponsors, and its related Senate bill, “The Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act,” that was introduced on a bipartisan basis by Senators Klobuchar (D-MN.) and Hatch (R-UT) and currently has 34 co-sponsors.

The Hudson Valley is home to many medical device manufacturers and this tax is making it even more difficult to compete with firms in the EU, Japan and China.