Manufacturing
The president has touted the resurgence of manufacturing in America in two SOTU speeches. He has stated among other things that our manufacturing sector is adding jobs, 620,000 new manufacturing jobs over the last four years, for the first time since the 1990s. This resurgence is fueled by abundant natural gas production, which the President stated in a trip to the Marcellus Shale region outside Pittsburgh on January 30th. At this event, President Obama and US Steel CEO Mario Langhi provided some much-needed context into how the steel manufactured there is used in our daily lives. More specifically, the steel made at this facility is being used to manufacture pipelines needed to bring natural gas to our homes. And while the steel industry manufactures and provides pipelines, the natural gas industry has supplied steel plants with cheap natural gas, which keeps production costs down. Interesting that the President takes credit for increased manufacturing that largely comes from natural gas derived from fracking which he and his supporters abhor via pipelines that he does not approve. He says his administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing. One is in Youngstown, Ohio and is focused on 3-D printing and one focused on energy-efficient electronics in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has announced the next two advanced manufacturing hubs. One is in the Detroit area, and the other is in Chicago, Illinois. All these hubs are partnerships that bring together companies and universities to develop cutting-edge technology, train workers to use that technology, and then make sure that the research is translated into real-world products made by American workers. Sound good? Well it is supposed to sound good. But doe sit make a difference or just spend money? We will have to wait and see.

Stores, Factories Lead This Year’s Unexpected Hiring Boom

8/6/18
from The Wall Street Journal,
8/5/18:

Economists expected hiring to slow in 2018 because a tight labor market, the opposite has occurred.

Economists expected hiring to slow in 2018 because a tight labor market—consistent with a sub-4% unemployment rate—would make it difficult for businesses to find workers. The opposite has occurred, largely due to a resurgence in two categories that had been contracting, retail and manufacturing. Through July, U.S. employers added an average of 215,000 jobs a month to payrolls. That is a marked acceleration from the 184,000 jobs added on average during the first seven months last year. And, well above the 165,000 average monthly employment growth economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal predicted for 2018 when asked in January. One big reason is after shedding an average of 6,000 jobs a month during the first seven months of 2017, retailers added an average of 12,000 each month this year. An increase in consumer spending, driven by rising incomes and strong confidence, is causing some retailers to expand.

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