NAM, Business Groups Launch New Corporate Governance Coalition

In a letter sent to the SEC July 2, the NAM joined more than a dozen associations representing businesses of all sizes in announcing the formation of a new coalition that will tackle shareholder activism and other important corporate governance issues. The Corporate Governance Coalition for Investor Value will work to advocate for strong corporate governance policies that promote long-term growth and value for shareholders. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturing Employment Increased by 4,000 in June

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers added 4,000 net new workers in June. This was slightly lower than the 7,000 additional employees added in May, and in general, it continues a softer-than-desired pace for the first half of 2015, particularly over the past five months. The sector added an average of just 6,167 workers per month in the first half of this year, a much slower rate of hiring than observed in the second half of 2014, which averaged 20,667 per month. The good news is that manufacturing job gains were positive in both May and June, recovering from being flat in April. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturing Construction Spending Continued to Rise Sharply in May

The Census Bureau said that private, nonresidential manufacturing construction spending rose sharply, up 6.2 percent in May to an annualized $89.69 billion. This represents a significant shift upward over the past year in construction activity for the sector, up from $52.73 billion in May 2014 and $65.68 billion in December 2014. On a year-over-year basis, manufacturing construction has increased by a whopping 70.1 percent. Moreover, the current level is yet another all-time high for this data series, suggesting that manufacturers are confident enough in their outlook to warrant additional investments. (continue reading…)

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ISM: Manufacturing Activity Picked Up Somewhat in June

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index picked up a little in June. The headline PMI increased from 52.8 in May to 53.5 in June, returning to a level last seen in January. As such, this report indicates that manufacturing activity has begun to recover from the softer demand, output and hiring levels experienced earlier in the year, with a number of economic headlines challenging the sector. Still, that does not mean that manufacturers are out of the woods yet, with activity expanding at a slower pace than desired. To illustrate this point, the manufacturing PMI averaged 56.9 in the second half of 2014, but has averaged 52.6 through the first six months of 2015. (continue reading…)

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ADP: After Three Months of Employment Declines, Manufacturing Hiring Ticked Higher in June

ADP said that manufacturing employment rose by 7,000 in June, ending a three-month period of declines in hiring for the sector. This is welcome news, as it suggests that job growth has begun to recover from weaker economic conditions earlier in the year. Year-to-date, the manufacturing sector has added just 8,000 workers on net. This compares to 164,000 net new jobs generated in 2014, or an average of roughly 13,650 per month. Hopefully, we will return to a similar pace as we move into the second half of 2015.

In the larger economy, nonfarm private businesses added 237,000 workers in June, extending the 203,000 gain observed in May. Nonfarm payrolls have risen by 200,000 or more in 15 of the past 17 months, with the exceptions being in March and April of this year. As with the manufacturing data described above, this indicates a rebound from springtime softness in the overall labor market. (continue reading…)

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You’re Demoted!

Donald Trump turned one of the most feared phrases in the workplace into a punchline. As the star of The Apprentice, Trump famously critiqued contestants in a board room and concluded by telling one of them, “You’re fired.” With the release of a new proposed regulation on overtime, it seems President Obama is rebranding the show’s tagline to “You’re demoted!” (continue reading…)

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Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Jumped Higher in June

The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped higher in June. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 94.6 in May to 101.4 in June, matching its level of March and coming after two months of softness in the data. Sentiment continues to remain below the post-recessionary peak observed in January (103.8), but overall, this report suggests that Americans’ attitudes have rebounded from weaknesses earlier in the year. In addition, confidence has risen from one year ago when the index was 86.4. Despite these improvements, the public continues to remain somewhat anxious about labor and income growth. (continue reading…)

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MTB: A Key Moment of Decision for Congress

More than $1.8 billion dollars in taxes. That is what manufacturers in the U.S. are facing because of nearly 900 days of inaction by the House and Senate on a longstanding program to eliminate outdated tariffs on imported inputs and other products not even made in the U.S. (continue reading…)

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COOL: Day of Reckoning Nears

Bipartisan approval of Trade Promotion Authority legislation offers the promise of new trade agreements that will boost the competitiveness of U.S. exports and ensure that countries play by rules consistent with U.S. and international norms. And yet, as we celebrate this success, U.S. exporters face the prospect of billions of new tariffs on exports to Canada and Mexico because of the U.S.’s continued failure to bring its Country-of-Origin Labeling, or COOL, rules for muscle cuts of meat into compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. (continue reading…)

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Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturers Contracted for the Sixth Straight Month

The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity contracted in its Texas district for the sixth straight month. Nonetheless, the pace of decline eased a bit in June, with the composite index of general business conditions increasing from -20.8 in May to -7.0 in June. While this might represent some progress, the larger headline is that this index has been negative in each month so far in 2015, mainly due to lower crude oil prices. With that said, there might be a sense of stabilization. As one fabricated metal products manufacturer said in the sample comments, “Signs of some stability in oil and gas exploration and production are emerging. If that continues, then our business conditions will benefit in the coming months.” (continue reading…)

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