December Empire State Manufacturing Survey: Activity Declined, But Still Relatively Strong

The December 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity declined for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index dropped fourteen points to -3.6, its first negative reading in nearly two years. The new orders index also fell into negative territory, tumbling eleven points to -2.0, and the shipments index fell to -0.2. Labor market conditions were mixed, with the index for number of employees holding steady at 8.3, while the average workweek index declined to -11.5. The prices paid index was little changed at 10.4, indicating a continued modest increase in input prices, while the prices received index climbed to 6.3.


Indexes assessing the six-month outlook were generally lower this month, but nevertheless conveyed considerable optimism about future business activity. The index for future general business conditions fell nine points to 38.6—still a fairly high figure by historical standards. The future new orders and shipments indexes declined to similar levels. The index for expected number of employees was 20.8, indicating that employment is expected to expand briskly, and the future average workweek index climbed to 12.5, its highest level in more than two years. The capital expenditures index fell twelve points to 15.6, and the technology spending  index inched down to 17.7.


Empire State Manufactureing Survey: Conditions continue to improve for New York manufacturers

The August 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business conditions continued to improve for New York manufacturers, but the improvement was less widespread than in the previous month. The headline general business conditions index retreated eleven points to 14.7, after reaching a four-year high in July. The new orders index slipped almost five points to 14.1, while the shipments index edged up a point to 24.6—a multiyear high. The unfilled orders index inched down one point to -8.0. The indexes for both prices paid and prices received were up slightly, indicating a marginal pickup in the pace of price increases. Labor market conditions were mixed, with the employment index declining slightly but the index for hours worked rising modestly. Most of the indexes for the six-month outlook rebounded sharply, after slipping in the July survey; a number of them reached multiyear highs, signaling increasingly widespread optimism about the near-term outlook.


Manufacturers Add 28,000 Workers in July, Averaging 22,000 Over the Past Three Months

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers added 28,000 workers on net in July, its fastest pace in eight months. There were also revisions to May and June data, adding another 11,000 to the bottom line. Overall, these data confirm two things that we have noticed in prior reports. First, hiring and manufacturing activity have largely rebounded from weaknesses earlier in the year. Indeed, average employment growth was 9,600 from December to April, but that was edged up to 22,000 over the past three months (May to July).

Second, total hiring has fared pretty well since the third quarter of last year – despite the winter disruptions – with the sector averaging almost 15,000 per month since August. This suggests that the pickup in demand and output seen in other indicators has led to increased hiring. Since the end of the 2009, manufacturers have created 683,000 new workers on net, or 7.3 percent of all nonfarm payrolls added over that time frame.

The July manufacturing job gains mostly resided in the durable goods sectors, which added 30,000 employees for the month. In contrast, nondurable goods firms shed 2,000 workers. The largest employment gains were in transportation equipment (up 19,200, with 14,600 coming from motor vehicles and parts), furniture and related products (up 3,200), fabricated metal products (up 2,600), primary metals (up 1,700) and computer and electronic products (up 1,600).


Empire State Manufacturing Survey Shows Growth in July

The July 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business conditions improved significantly for a third consecutive month for New York manufacturers.

  • The headline general business conditions index climbed six points to 25.6, its highest level in more than four years.
  • The new orders index was little changed at 18.8, while the shipments index rose nine points to 23.6; both indexes were at multiyear highs.
  • The unfilled orders index fell six points to -6.8.
  • The indexes for both prices paid and prices received were higher this month, indicating a pickup in the pace of price increases.
  • Labor market conditions continued to improve, with indexes pointing to a solid increase in employment levels and a slight increase in hours worked. Although many of the indexes for the six-month outlook were significantly lower, conditions overall were expected to continue improving in the months ahead.

NAM Poll Shows Americans Want a Simpler and Fairer Tax Code

The National Association of Manufacturers is a leader in the tax reform effort to create a national tax climate that promotes manufacturing in America and enhances the global competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States. Manufacturers are calling on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to work together on tax reform.

The NAM recently drew attention to the significance of tax reform to Americans with new poll findings that show likely voters want policymakers to work together to enact a simpler, fairer tax code. The poll shows American taxpayers are taking a big-picture look at tax reform, offering strong support for pro-growth policies, even if their personal tax burden is unaffected.

Key findings of the NAM poll include the following:

  • Nearly 73 percent of those polled support comprehensive reform to make the tax code simpler and fairer, even if their personal tax burden remains the same.
  • An overwhelming majority—85 percent—believe it is important that Congress and the President put aside partisanship to enact comprehensive tax reform.

“Among the American people, tax reform bridges the partisan divide—and voters want Congress and the Administration to move beyond the gridlock to fix our broken, uncompetitive tax code,” said NAM Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Dorothy Coleman.

Coleman discussed how tax reform is a key decision point for voters in the NAM’s A Manufacturing Minute video. The Business Journals and Politico Morning Energy (subscription required) featured news coverage of the survey.

While House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-MI) impending retirement casts some doubt on the future of his signature tax reform proposal unveiled in February, tax reform is far from dead. Indeed, since Chairman Camp’s discussion draft is the most detailed tax overhaul plan coming out of Washington in a long time, there is a good chance that many of the provisions in the Tax Reform Act of 2014 will form the basis of a tax reform plan in the future.

At the same time, tax reform continues to be a major issue for businesses. In a recent NAM/IndustryWeek survey, two-thirds of respondents said that tax reform should be a top priority for policymakers. Clearly, there are a number of reasons why tax reform will not go away, including the current complexity of the U.S. tax system, the fact that the United States has the highest tax rate among other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations, the uncompetitive U.S. international tax system and the increasing number of temporary “extenders” in the code.

The NAM has formed an ad hoc tax reform working group to take a closer look at Chairman Camp’s proposal, with the goal of submitting comments on the draft later this year. For further information or to join the ad hoc working group, please contact Coleman below.

To learn more about the new NAM poll findings, click here.

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:

mpi robotics

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.”