Energy Efficiency Improvement Act Signed Into Law
Manufacturers use almost 30 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. and need to be more energy efficient in order to continue to be competitive in a global economy. The President helped make that efficiency easier to achieve when he signed into law the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015. The new bill will loosen efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters, increase efficiency in government data centers and promote efficiency in commercial, residential and federal government-owned buildings. To learn more, visit here.
Consumer Confidence Pulled Back Again in April
The Consumer Confidence Index has been quite volatile since the start of the year, with consumer sentiment pulling back again in April, according to the Conference Board. Despite the back-and-forth swings (103.8 in January, 98.8 in February, 101.4 in March and 95.2 in April), the index measuring current conditions has edged lower for three consecutive months, down from 113.9 in January to 106.8 in April. The figure continues to reflect progress in overall attitudes over the longer-term, despite a drop in confidence in employment availability and income increases. To learn more, visit here.
Congress Urged to Renew Nuclear Agreement with China
China is the world’s largest market for nuclear power plants, equipment and technology. With 23 nuclear power plants in operation and 26 under construction, China is poised to become the world’s largest generator of nuclear power. Major Chinese contracts awarded to U.S. nuclear suppliers have created billions in U.S. exports and tens of thousands of jobs, which is why manufacturers are urging Congress to renew the “U.S.-China Agreement for Cooperation on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy” before it expires in December. To learn more, visit here.
Crude Oil Prices and U.S. Dollar Woes Impacting Texas Manufacturers
For the fourth straight month, manufacturing activity contracted in Texas, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. Lower crude oil prices and a stronger U.S. dollar are providing a double whammy to the Texas economy and contributing to weak new order, production and shipment measures. But it is not all bad news – raw material costs were lower and hiring and capital expenditures both returned to a net positive in April. To learn more, visit here.