Manufacturing Job Openings Back on Track in January
Manufacturing job openings rebounded in January after easing slightly in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rising to 330,000 in January from 310,000 in December, both durable and nondurable goods industries reported more openings for the month. In addition to manufacturing, there were more job openings in the construction, leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation and utilities sectors in January. Hiring also picked up in government, health care, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and retail trade. To read more, visit here.
Retail Sales Fall for Third Consecutive Month
Retail spending fell 0.6 percent in February, marking the third straight declining month of retail sales, according to the Census Bureau. Much of the recent slip has stemmed from lower gasoline prices and reduced receipt levels at the pump. Americans spent $46.3 billion at gasoline stations in February 2014, but that figure has dropped 23.0 percent since then. Retail declines occurred in the automotive, building materials and supplies, electronics and appliances, general merchandise and health and personal care sectors. To read more, visit here.
Monthly Global Manufacturing Economic Update
Manufacturers are facing some significant challenges from sluggish growth abroad, reduced crude oil prices and a strong U.S dollar. According to the Federal Reserve Board, the U.S. dollar has strengthened sharply over the past few months, while the euro has fallen to its lowest levels since January 2003. Lower petroleum prices have had negative impacts throughout the energy sector and it supply chain in the United States, as well as hampered growth in Canada, our largest trading partner. Weaknesses persist in the Eurozone, so the European Central Bank plans to spend 1 trillion euros over the next 18 months to help stimulate the European economy. Meanwhile, manufacturing activity in China rebounded from two straight months of decline, but its economy continues to decelerate. To read more, visit here.
TSCA Reform Efforts in Senate Take a Big Step Forward
The Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 is one of the nation's most outdated environmental statues. For years, lawmakers and stakeholders from all sides have recognized the need for reform, but until recently, no steps were being taken to move forward. This past week, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was introduced with strong bipartisan support. This new act will modernize TSCA and restore the public's faith in our chemical laws to protect their health and the environment, while allowing manufacturers the regulatory certainty necessary to serve markets across the globe. To read more, visit here.