MAPI — Manufacturers Alliance News and Reports — U.S. Economy Outlook, Global Stability and More

A weekly round-up of the MAPI resources available to NFPA members through NFPA’s membership in MAPI.


Issues in the Brief

U.S. Trade Deficit, August 2015
The U.S. trade deficit in manufactures soared by 30% in the first quarter, inflated by weather and a West Coast dock strike, and then adjusted to a lower 15% increase in the second quarter. For a more balanced first half of the year, U.S. manufactured exports declined by 1% from 2014, imports were up by 5%, and the deficit surged by 19%, or by $48 billion, which equates to a trade-related loss of 300,000 American manufacturing jobs. In the other direction, the Chinese trade surplus in manufactures surged by 14%, or by $59 billion, during the first half of the year.

The U.S. Economy Is Poised to Accelerate
In my presentation last month at the National Fluid Power Association’s Industry and Economic Outlook Conference, I provided an overview of industrial markets, the dollar, energy, and key indicators for manufacturing and the economy.

DOL Seeks to Narrow Minimum Wage and Overtime Exemptions
The Department of Labor’s proposed changes, if adopted, may result in millions of American workers being reclassified as nonexempt, making them eligible for overtime pay. While DOL’s proposal currently covers only salary and compensation tests for eligibility, changes to duties tests are possible as well.

The Trouble with M&A Synergies
In surveying 48 M&A executives, MAPI and RBC Capital Markets found that manufacturers have a self-described mixed record with realizing synergies from acquisitions. Companies such as Timken and Leggett & Platt rise to the challenge by improving their acquisition integration processes.

Wanted: Global Economic Stability
Director of Economic Studies Cliff Waldman notes that economic volatility from China to Canada is making it difficult for U.S.-based manufacturers. He offers insight on the world’s choppy landscape.

Mental health in the workplace—A silent and salient issue
Companies use a variety of metrics to measure and improve company performance, productivity and safety. What many may not realize is that addressing and investing in mental health will improve these same metrics.


Economic Update

Latin America Manufacturing Outlook July 2015
This biannual report examines the latest trends in selected manufacturing industries in Latin America and provides related forecasts. The focus is on Latin America’s three largest economies—Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina—as these countries account for more than 80% of the region’s manufacturing output.

Global Outlook: The Elusive Search for Equilibrium
Six years past the bottom of the Great Recession, it feels to many as if the aura of crisis still haunts the global economic landscape.

July Manufacturing Update
Manufacturing output was flat in June, as it was throughout most of the first half of 2015. Given challenges arising from the strong dollar, a severe winter, the dockworkers’ slowdown and global economic uncertainty, it is surprising that performance has not been worse.

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