Manufacturing Production Rises a Tiny Bit in March
Manufacturing production increased a paltry 0.1 percent in March, following declines in both January and February. The year-over-year pace of manufacturing production in March was 2.4 percent, down from 4.5 percent in November. On a more positive note, retail sales grew 0.9 percent in March, with strong growth in motor vehicles and parts, and housing starts rose 2.0 percent last month. As such, the data suggests manufacturers have started 2015 on a very soft note, despite optimism for better demand and output moving forward. To learn more, visit here.
Energy Efficiency Improvement Legislation Heads to President's Desk
Last week, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015. Already passed in the Senate in March, the bill is now headed to the President's desk for final approval. The measure would 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.
Encouraging Transportation Equipment Orders Mask Overall Durable Goods Decline
As a whole, transportation equipment orders grew 13.5 percent in March. Strong defense and nondefense aircraft orders, as well as a rebound of motor vehicle sales, lead to an increase in new durable goods orders of 4.0 percent in March. But excluding transportation, the news was less encouraging, with durable goods down 0.2 percent overall. Besides transportation equipment, computers and related products were the only sector to gain for the month, with declines experienced in all the other major sectors. To learn more, visit here.
Nearly 300 Associations Support Renewal of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)
In a letter released last week, nearly 300 U.S. state and local organizations urged Congress to swiftly renew the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Manufacturers across the nation would benefit from trade agreements negotiated and concluded under TPA, including the ability to reach the 95 percent of the world's customers who live outside the United States. Market-opening trade agreements help manufacturers grow their global businesses, which is why many are in support of Congress passing TPA as soon as possible this year. To learn more, visit here.