May MAPI – Manufacturers Alliance Economic News and Reports

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

Issues in the Brief

A Jolt of Reality to the Tax Reform Debate
Rep. Dave Camp’s tax reform plan differs from previous attempts not just in its size — at almost 1,000 pages — but also in its comprehensiveness. The proposal delves into the details of how to pay for lower tax rates, providing a potential blueprint for further congressional efforts.

A Transitioning Labor Market
The aging baby boom generation will keep the participation rate falling for at least another decade, and some individuals’ decisions to work longer will not be enough to offset the tendency to retire. In a couple of years, firms should see widespread, tight labor markets, making young talent particularly difficult to find.

New Guidance on Employment Background Checks
Via new technical assistance documents, two federal agencies advise that to avoid violating anti-discrimination laws, employers should treat everyone equally when conducting background checks. When checks are conducted through a company in the business of compiling background information, the employer must comply with procedures required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Uncertainty’s Chokehold on Growth
In times of significant uncertainty, firms lower investment demand and consumers stall spending. The Great Recession was associated with a record level of uncertainty that intensified until the resolution of the fiscal cliff, with likely negative consequences for growth in output, investment and employment.

NAFTA: A 50-Year Success Story for U.S. Manufacturing
The NAFTA relationship provides the free trade, market-based currency model for restoring a fair and balanced trading system. The $23 billion surplus that the U.S. recorded in NAFTA manufactured exports in 2013 stands in dramatic contrast with the $524 billion deficit with the rest of the world.

Between a Rock and a Conflict Minerals Hard Place
The SEC’s conflict minerals rule is on the rocks, with the D.C. Circuit Court and two sitting SEC commissioners questioning its viability. Meanwhile, the SEC, bolstered by several members of Congress, insists the June 2 reporting deadline stands, creating uncertainty for manufacturers. A different First Amendment case on the court’s schedule this month might also influence the road ahead for compliance.

Economic Update

Latin America’s Outlook: Growth Prospects Remain Subdued
Mexico continues to show disappointing economic indicators; nevertheless, a pickup in production is likely. In Brazil, currency appreciation is hurting competitiveness and export performance. Argentina shows no signs of improvement following a recent currency devaluation and rising interest rates.

China’s Economic Growth—Broad-Based Slowdown at the Beginning of 2014
Manufacturing in China slowed significantly in the first quarter of 2014 and the weak economic data have spurred speculation that the government will launch a series of policy measures to stabilize growth. Our forecast calls for China’s inflation-adjusted GDP to grow approximately 7.2% in 2014 and industrial value-added to rise 9%.

MAPI Business Outlook March 2014
All forward looking indexes rose in the March survey, pointing to continued expansion over the next 3-6 months. The Export Orders and Profit Margin Indexes declined but remain above 50, the dividing line between expansion and contraction. In the wildcard section, 57 executives revealed how uncertainty is affecting investment.

U.S. Manufacturing Update April 2014
Slow recent growth has thus far prevented U.S. manufacturing from fully regaining the output that was lost in the 2007-2009 recession, but full recovery is within sight: the sector is now 89.8% recovered. U.S. manufacturing production growth in the wake of the difficult winter was a relatively strong 0.5% in March.

Europe’s Recovery Continues at Only Modest Pace
Senior Economist Kris Bledowski believes the European economic picture improved somewhat over the past year, with output growth finally taking off. At the same time, other indicators paint a darker picture, such as falling prices and dwindling credit.

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This report is made available by NFPA as a service to the fluid power industry and contains information provided by companies in the industry. NFPA does not recommend or endorse any particular use of this report. NFPA, its directors, members and employees are not responsible for errors or omissions in the report or for loss arising from its use and disclaim all warranties and guarantees, express or implied, with respect to the information in this report.

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