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January 17, 2013
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  MAPI Research and Insight 
  • Survey on the business outlook: Individual indexes mixed
    Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., senior economist
    The Composite Business Outlook Index was 55 in December, down slightly from 56 in September, pointing to continued expansion over the next three to six months. Most of the individual indexes remain above 50, the dividing line between expansion and contraction. The small drop in the composite index, coupled with the improvement in the forward looking indexes, suggests that the decline in manufacturing activity that started in March 2012 may be bottoming out. This quarter's wildcard questions ask whether companies have brought operations back to the United States or are planning to do so and the factors affecting location decisions. Economic Outlook LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Latin America manufacturing outlook: A cyclical rebound in 2013
    Fernando Sedano, Ph.D., economic consultant
    MAPI predicts manufacturing production in Latin America will post a weak 0.5% growth rate in 2012, dragged down by a manufacturing recession in Brazil and a sudden stop in output growth in Argentina. Mexico's manufacturers are in relatively better shape, benefiting from solid U.S. demand and resilient domestic demand. Conditions are set for solid growth in 2013, although uncertainties in the global outlook pose risks to our estimates. We expect our index to grow 4% in 2013. Economic Outlook LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. oil consumption declines
    Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., senior economist
    While the recent attention paid to rising U.S. oil production clearly is warranted, the other side of the coin -- the trend in U.S. petroleum consumption -- also deserves recognition because it is no less dramatic, especially against the backdrop of long-term forecasts made just a few years ago. It once appeared inevitable that economic growth would be accompanied by increased consumption of oil and petroleum products. Now, long-term projections of relatively flat growth in petroleum consumption coupled with projections of increasing oil production (which will add to the diversity of world oil supplies) point to an improvement in the U.S. energy balance. Issues in Brief LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MAPI Analysis and Citings 
  • MAPI survey reveals slow growth in manufacturing
    MAPI's latest Survey on the Business Outlook revealed mixed numbers for manufacturing, indicating that the slowdown that started last spring seems to be over but that growth in the industry is nominal. While the composite index for December remained above 50, it fell to 55 from September's 56, and six of the 13 individual indexes decreased, six increased and one was unchanged. "The rapid slowdown in the growth of manufacturing production that began in March 2012 appears to have bottomed out and the outlook is for slow expansion over the next three to six months," said MAPI senior economist and survey coordinator Donald A. Norman. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (1/10) , IndustryWeek (1/10) , (1/10) , The Journal of Commerce (1/10) , Shopfloor blog (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  In the Industry 
  • Jasinowski: Robots are the future of manufacturing
    The use of robotics in manufacturing is becoming increasingly evident as robots become more advanced and the costs of human labor rise, writes Jerry Jasinowski, economist and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute. He says robotics represent the future of manufacturing, after 2012 saw a 50% increase in the sale of industrial robots to 180,000, and annual sales of 207,000 are expected by 2015. The Huffington Post/The Blog (1/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • IBM introduces thin, flexible nanocircuits
    Researchers at IBM have developed nanoelectric circuits that can be folded or bent to fit in small devices of various shapes. The high-performance circuits are about one ten-thousandth as thick as a sheet of paper and have a curvature radius of 6 millimeters. ExtremeTech (1/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tribology has potential to save $500B on machine wear and tear
    Tribology, the study of interactive surfaces in relative motion, has become somewhat of a forgotten practice, with undergraduate engineering students spending less than one hour learning about it over four years. However, it has been estimated that applying the technology could save industry in the U.S. about $500 billion a year by cutting down on machines' wear. (1/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership and Strategy 
  • How to marry risk management and innovation
    Risk management and innovation might seem to be opposing goals for a company, writes Steve Culp, managing director for Accenture Risk Management. However, there are benefits to joining the two functions. "When properly fused, the two disciplines can help organizations pursue opportunities that a risk-averse culture might leave on the cutting room floor," Culp writes. He provides three principles to link risk management and innovation in a company. Forbes (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don't have a clear idea."
--David Belasco,
American theatrical producer, director and playwright

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About MAPI
The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, founded in 1933 and located in Arlington, VA, contributes to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by providing economic research, professional development and an independent, expert source of manufacturing information.
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