|MAPI Research and Insight
Global outlook: Are regional challenges escalating into a global risk?
Cliff Waldman, senior economist
As the protracted saga of world economic troubles that began in 2007 persists, there is growing concern that a wide range of regional economic vulnerabilities could morph into a global risk, which might be difficult to control with policy ammunition so low in many key countries. U.S. economic sluggishness, a renewed recession in the unstable eurozone and sharp slowdowns in the growth rates of major developing economies have created a risk-averse world business climate, with negative implications for capital investment activity in the developed and developing blocs. Economic Outlook
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Manufacturing facts: U.S. dominance in product innovation begins to slip
From the latest edition of The Facts About Modern Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector has long been a catalyst for U.S. strength in disruptive, breakthrough innovations. But as developing countries with export-oriented growth strategies have begun to embrace innovation as a means to competitiveness in high-technology product markets, U.S. dominance has been challenged. During 2011, U.S. inventors were awarded 48% of all U.S. utility patent grants, well below the 60% seen in 1980. See future C-Suite Briefs for more highlighted facts from the report. Manufacturing Facts
EPA's "December to remember" for manufacturers
Rae Ann S. Johnson, associate general counsel
The Environmental Protection Agency's Christmas gift came early this year in the form of President Obama's re-election. His victory paved the way for more stringent industrial environmental policies, and EPA's eagerness to impose them means it will most likely be a "December to Remember" for the manufacturing industry. EPA currently has 98 environmental regulations it's preparing for implementation. Five of these rules are projected to be finalized by the end of 2012, and at least another five are set for 2013. Issues in Brief
Some companies continue to invest despite fiscal uncertainty
Despite the economic uncertainty that comes with Washington's lack of a budget agreement, some businesses are making investments and expanding. Massachusetts-based AccuRounds is working on plans to expand its factory floor, and its CEO said he expects to borrow up to $4 million for the project. However, capital spending on equipment and software fell at an annual rate of 2.7% in 2012's third quarter and MAPI senior economist Cliff Waldman said he expects investments to remain weak. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
MAPI predicts 2012 job loss could be as high as 250,000
The global manufactures trade deficit in the U.S. grew by $8 billion in the third quarter of this year, which makes the increase in the deficit $169 billion since 2009, according to a new report from MAPI. Ernest H. Preeg, MAPI's senior adviser for international trade and finance, predicts the job loss for 2012 due to the deficit will be between 125,000 and 250,000. Meanwhile, China's surplus, which had increased by 24% in the first half of 2012, fell to a 4% gain in the third quarter due to slow growth in Europe and Japan, Preeg said. IndustryWeek
November jobs numbers are up, but economic uncertainty still rules
The Labor Department reported that the U.S. added 146,000 jobs last month and that unemployment fell to 7.7%, the lowest rate in four years. However, uncertainty about the country's economic state has kept activity in manufacturing stagnant and contributed to a loss of 7,000 manufacturing jobs in November. "For CEOs, the prudent thing to do when uncertain is do nothing. You don't want to be stuck with excess capacity when you get in a downturn," said MAPI's chief economist, Daniel Meckstroth. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)
New legislation to standardize water heater efficiency ratings
Congress passed new legislation aimed at helping reduce consumer confusion about water heaters' energy efficiency. The bill, which still must be signed into law by President Barack Obama, would standardize the rating system and testing methods for energy efficiency in water heaters. "Once the bill becomes law, consumers will be able to make more informed decisions by comparing the efficiency of the entire range of water heaters that are on the market. It will make it easier for them to obtain available incentives that are based on an appliance's energy efficiency," said Paul Jones, CEO of A.O. Smith and member of MAPI's executive committee. American City Business Journals/Milwaukee
I.B.I.S. CEO on the importance of manufacturing visibility
Effective information sharing in manufacturing requires companies to identify the information that must be tracked, to whom they should give the information and how to use the information to improve operations, business performance and customer service. I.B.I.S. owner and CEO Andy Vabulas outlines how to effectively use manufacturing visibility to help companies achieve strategic goals, improve operations and satisfy customers. Manufacturing.net
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