U.S. Trading Partners, Businesses Say Tariffs Will Backfire

U.S. Trading Partners, Businesses Say Tariffs Will Backfire

Mar 12, 2018

By Lorne Cook & Joe McDonald, Associated Press, Manufacturing Business Technology BRUSSELS (AP) — The Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports drew warnings Friday from businesses and U.S. trading partners that the measure could backfire, provoking a trade war without resolving the problems it’s intended to address. President Donald Trump said the tariffs, due to take effect in 15 days, are needed to protect U.S. workers. Businesses say the 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent levy on aluminum will jack up costs, raising prices for consumers and potentially putting people out of work. Trump has long singled out China as being unfair in its trade practices and for dumping cheap steel on the global markets, depressing prices. But experts say the new tariffs will in fact not affect China much, but rather hurt key allies like the European Union and South Korea. The move drew consternation outside the U.S. The Chinese government said it “firmly opposes” the move but gave no indication whether it might make good on threats to retaliate. “These measures could make a significant impact on the economic and cooperative relationship between Japan and the U.S., who are allies,” said Japan’s foreign minister, Taro Kono. The EU said it hoped to be exempt from the tariffs, like Canada and Mexico are, or that the issue might be solved in international arbitration at the World Trade Organization. If not, the EU vowed to retaliate. “We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures,” said Cecilia Malmstroem, the EU Trade Commissioner, who this week confirmed that EU states are finalizing a list of U.S. goods — from peanut butter to bourbon — to hit with retaliatory tariffs. The head of Eurofer, Europe’s main steel federation, said Trump’s reasons for slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum were an absurdity and that the move could cost tens of thousands of jobs across the continent. The tariffs would cost lost trade worth $2.6 billion a year for the EU and $1.1 billion for South Korea, according to Chad Bow, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. While that is not a lot for the economy...

Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Fastest Pace Since…

Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Fastest Pace Since…

Mar 1, 2018

“Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Fastest Pace Since May 2004” By Katia Dmitrieva, Bloomberg Markets   U.S. factories expanded in February at the fastest rate since May 2004, indicating sustained strength in manufacturing as demand remains solid, figures from the Institute for Supply Management showed Thursday. HIGHLIGHTS OF ISM MANUFACTURING (FEBRUARY) Factory index climbed to 60.8 (est. 58.7) from 59.1 in prior month; readings above 50 indicate expansion Employment gauge jumped to a four-month high of 59.7 from 54.2 Measure of new orders eased to 64.2 from 65.4; order backlogs climbed to 59.8 from 56.2 Prices-paid index rose to 74.2, the highest since May 2011, from 72.7 Key Takeaways The latest advance extends a series of healthy readings in the survey-based measure of manufacturing that’s being fueled by improving global economies and firm business investment. It also comes on the heels of a late-year pickup in consumer spending, which advanced in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in more than a year. The purchasing managers group’s gauge of export orders was the strongest since April 2011. While orders and production were a touch weaker in February than the prior month, the readings are nonetheless robust. The report showed factories are having some difficulty keeping up with demand. The ISM’s index of order backlogs climbed to a more than 13-year high. Delivery times also lengthened in February, with a measure reaching the second-highest level since 2010. That may help explain the rise in the group’s gauge of manufacturing employment, which posted its largest month-over-month gain in more than two years. “All indications are that demand will continue to grow,” Timothy Fiore, chairman of ISM’s factory survey committee, said on a conference call with reporters. “There are a number of issues going on here in the supply chain that’s pushing things up. The net result is there are problems in inventories, which are growing.” In addition to firmer overseas and domestic sales, corporate optimism is getting a lift from the recent tax-cut law and reduced regulation. The ISM report showed 15 of 18 manufacturing industries indicated growth last month, led by printing, primary metals and machinery. What ISM Respondents Said CapEx purchase deliveries are moving...

Raising the Alarm for US Manufacturing

Raising the Alarm for US Manufacturing

Feb 7, 2018

By Steve Minter, IndustryWeek Rebuild Manufacturing: The Key to American Prosperity In her latest book chronicling the state of U.S. manufacturing and the policy changes needed to shore up the sector, Michele Nash-Hoff, a contributor to IndustryWeek, notes that one of her ancestors was Paul Revere. While Nash-Hoff has not been galloping through the Massachusetts countryside warning of British troops, she has been crisscrossing the United States in recent years visiting American factories, warning of threats to domestic manufacturing and offering advice on how to rebuild the manufacturing ecosystem. Paul Revere, a celebrated silversmith who also ran a foundry after the Revolutionary War, would be proud. Rebuild Manufacturing (Coalition for a Prosperous America, 2017) starts off with a recounting of statistics that are familiar to many manufacturers but still shocking. The U.S. lost 5.86 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and early 2010, or roughly the populations of Chicago, Houston and Indianapolis combined. During that decade, the U.S. lost 57,000 manufacturing firms. Throughout this period and for a considerable time before, educators and parents were watching (or experiencing) what was happening in manufacturing. The lesson they imparted to countless kids: Manufacturing has no future in the U.S. and neither will you if you choose a career in a factory. Thanks to a long recovery beginning in the Obama administration and continuing in the Trump presidency, manufacturing is coming back, though that journey is far from over. Activists such as Nash-Hoff have helped turn the tide against the popular belief in Washington and other centers of economic thought that the U.S. had grown out of the need for manufacturing. It is increasingly clear that a vibrant manufacturing sector is crucial to a healthy and growing U.S. economy. In Rebuild Manufacturing, Nash-Hoff offers a wealth of information and recommendations on what can be done to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. She points the finger repeatedly at the huge trade imbalance with a mercantilist China (in 2017, nearly $309 billion through October) and calls for action by Trump and Congress to fight intellectual property theft and take a much tougher stand against acquisitions of American companies by Chinese firms. “Letting Chinese corporations acquire American companies, especially energy or technology-based companies is the biggest threat...

U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Close to Quickest Pace Since…

U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Close to Quickest Pace Since…

Feb 2, 2018

“U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Close to Quickest Pace Since 2004” By Sho Chandra, Bloomberg U.S. factories expanded more than forecast in January and near the fastest pace in more than 13 years, indicating manufacturing was still powering ahead at the start of 2018, Institute for Supply Management data showed Thursday.Factory index was little changed at 59.1 (est. 58.6) from 59.3 in Dec.; readings above 50 indicate expansion Highlights of ISM Manufacturing (January) Factory index was little changed at 59.1 (est. 58.6) from 59.3 in Dec.; readings above 50 indicate expansion  Gauge remains close to Sept. reading of 60.2, which was the highest since June 2004 Measure of new orders cooled to 65.4 from an almost 14-year high of 67.4 Employment gauge fell to an eight-month low of 54.2 from 58.1   Key Takeaways The January reading, which exceeded the 57.4 average for 2017, shows manufacturing is benefiting from solid consumer spending and business investment. What’s more, a measure of exports advanced to an almost seven-year high, underscoring improving overseas markets.  The pickup in manufacturing is starting to generate inflation pressures as factories demand more raw materials including crude oil. The ISM’s measure of prices paid increased to the highest level since May 2011.  In a sign factories are challenged by elevated demand, the ISM’s measure of supplier deliveries climbed to a three-month high and its backlogs index rose to the highest level since September. The ISM report comes a day before the Labor Department’s January jobs report, which is projected to show an increase in factory payrolls helped to boost overall employment. Other Details ISM measure of prices paid jumped to 72.7 from 68.3 Index of factory inventories rose to 52.3, indicating stockpiles were expanding, from 48.5  Gauge of production fell to 64.5 from 65.2  Export orders measure advanced to 59.8, the strongest since April 2011, from 57.6 Supplier deliveries gauge rose to 59.1, indicating longer lead times, from 57.2; index of backlogs climbed to 56.2 from 54.9  — With assistance by Chris...

Manufacturing Jobs ‘Roaring Back’?

Manufacturing Jobs ‘Roaring Back’?

Jan 12, 2018

By Eugene Kiely, FactCheck.org Vice President Mike Pence touted the latest jobs report as proof that “manufacturing is roaring back.” The previous administration made a similar claim, but experts then and now said it’s premature to declare a manufacturing renaissance. The economy added 196,000 manufacturing jobs last year — the most in any year since 2014, when the economy added 208,000 manufacturing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the manufacturing sector has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession. As of December 2017, there were 12.5 million manufacturing jobs – 1.2 million fewer than there were in December 2007, when the recession started, BLS data show. At last year’s growth rate, it would take until nearly 2023 just to recover the jobs lost during the recession. Pence made his remarks in an interview with the conservative radio show host Dana Loesch. “Look at the jobs numbers that were just released last week — manufacturing is roaring back,” he said. The employment figures released on Jan. 5 showed an increase of 25,000 manufacturing jobs in December. That resulted, as we said, in a net gain for the year of 196,000 jobs. That was much better than in 2016, when the economy lost 16,000 manufacturing jobs. But it was not as good as 2011 or 2014, when the economy added a little more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs in each of those years. Pence’s declaration of a manufacturing comeback reminded us of when his Democratic predecessor, Joe Biden, boasted in 2012 that “manufacturing is back” after a few years of job growth. But, as we wrote at the time, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation dismissed such talk as premature. Rob Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, tells us it is still premature. Atkinson, co-author of a 2015 report called “The Myth of America’s Manufacturing Renaissance: The Real State of U.S. Manufacturing,” said that being 1.2 million short of the pre-recession jobs level is just one indication that manufacturing is not back. “Even more telling,” Atkinson told us, “the U.S. is producing less manufacturing output in the second quarter of 2017 than it did in the last quarter of 2007,” when the recession started. “Almost 10 years and NO growth in real...