|MAPI Research and Insight
A to-do list for the president
Stephen V. Gold, president and chief executive officer
The campaigning and election are (at long last) over; the electorate has spoken. Time for President Obama to turn his full attention to the economic recovery, and more specifically to helping build a stronger, more dynamic American manufacturing base. The pro-manufacturing initiatives of his first term -- and there were actually quite a few, including creating an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a manufacturing skills certification system in community colleges and a National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute -- were sensible, but they were baby steps. Issues in Brief
The NLRB considers the legality of employers' social media policies
Leslie Miller, senior attorney
Over the course of the past year, the acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued three reports analyzing various employers' social media policies. These reports demonstrate that even seemingly sensible limitations can violate the National Labor Relations Act via defined or implied restrictions on employees' statutorily protected rights to discuss with each other the terms and conditions of their employment. All employers -- including those operating non-union facilities -- must be especially careful to avoid overly broad, ambiguous or unlawful language in social media policies. Policy Analysis
Durable goods orders in the U.S. exceed expectations
Orders for durable goods in the U.S. were almost unchanged last month but did inch up, making October the fifth month in the past six to show an increase, the Commerce Department reported. Economists had expected new orders to drop by 1.2% in October, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey. "Clearly, business decision-makers are engaging in just enough capital spending to keep their enterprises going. ... Recent data continue to suggest that U.S. factory sector growth, while having slowed significantly, is at least staying above water," said MAPI senior economist Cliff Waldman. IndustryWeek
(11/27), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
MAPI: Moderate growth is possible, depending on politics
U.S. gross domestic product could grow by 1.8% in 2013 and by 2.8% in 2014, indicating a period of moderate growth, according to a new report by MAPI. The report predicts manufacturing production will grow by 2% in 2013 and by 3.2% in 2014. "Much of the outlook is predicated on political dynamics," cautioned MAPI's chief economist, Daniel J. Meckstroth. "In order for the transition to moderate growth to occur successfully, there needs to be compromise on the 'fiscal cliff' issues, agreement on raising the debt ceiling early in 2013, and establishing a 'grand compromise' plan for meaningful long-term federal deficit reduction that phases in over several years." IndustryWeek
Lincoln Electric's welding footprint is more than a century old
Ohio-based Lincoln Electric has worked in welding, cutting and joining products for more than 100 years. "Lincoln Electric equipment, consumables, process innovations and application solutions have been used on thousands of major pipeline projects around the world," including the Alaska Pipeline, the West-East China Project and the Langled Underwater Pipeline, said Steve Sumner, the company's director of global marketing and product development. Lincoln Electric continues to focus on training its employees in the newest safety procedures and plans to work on the Keystone, South Stream, Nabucco and TANAP projects over the next two years. Pipelines International
GE: Connecting machines could boost world's GDP by trillions
Automating communication machines via an "industrial internet" could increase global GDP by up to $15 trillion by 2030, according to a new study by General Electric. The study reported that being 1% more efficient could save $30 billion in aviation and that connected machines could save $150 billion across industries. Some jobs could become unnecessary through the innovation process, but the study says those could be replaced with new jobs that would be created. GigaOm
Eaton overhauls production system for efficiency, quality
Electrical switchgear maker Eaton improved its efficiency and reduced its energy costs and scrap levels by developing a new system that has better autonomy of operation, a shorter cycle time and a more user-friendly control system. The company decided to overhaul its production system after discovering that its outdated equipment was leading to a high scrappage rate, poor repeatability and cosmetic damage. Plastics & Rubber Weekly (U.K.)
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